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By Stephanie House & Melissa McDaniels

The NRMN Master Facilitators Initiative now includes a cadre of 41 individuals representing 20 institutions and organizations from 12 states, DC, and Puerto Rico who help meet the national demand for culturally responsive mentorship programming. They provide mentor, mentee, and facilitator training for diverse populations across career stages, with emphasis on the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences.

The group recently met for their third annual retreat this September in Madison, WI. The 2-day event was attended by 31 participants, including six new members who joined the group. The retreat provided a vibrant forum for sharing experiences and ideas, networking, building community, and piloting new materials. In particular, they explored new ways to improve training centered around culturally aware mentoring and advancing equity and inclusion. Space and time were also created for reflection on themselves as cultural beings, and upon the group itself as it plans for future programming to meet national needs.

Portrait of Melissa McDanielsAt the retreat it was also announced that Dr. Melissa McDaniels from Michigan State University will be the new Co-Director of the Master Facilitators Initiative, joining Stephanie House from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. McDaniels, who has been a Master Facilitator since the group was launched in January 2015, will now be taking this enhanced role to help further expand the groups capacity by helping to develop resources, especially in the area of online synchronous communications, as well as contributing to internal evaluation.

Participants reflecting on the retreat wrote about what they saw as the greatest takeaways:

  • “A strength of the retreat was the sense of commitment by the participants to leverage their individual resources and creativity to support underrepresented individuals.”
  • “Absolutely love being part of this diverse community of experienced researchers and practitioners. I can’t state enough how much I feel that this opportunity has enhanced my own professional development.”
  • “Having an intensive experience to stay engaged with others and development. Being exposed to curriculum development and new modules/implementation approaches.”
  • “I found learning and, in some cases, experiencing the new innovations to be most helpful. If I hope to implement new things in the future, I feel confident to preserve the intent of the activity by having the developer walk us through it.”
  • “Being able to interact face to face with other MF’s and learn from each other. The most helpful was sharing new materials and learn how others are implementing them.”
  • “Exchange of best practices, innovation, and next steps for dissemination and implementation.”

Those interested in becoming an NRMN Master Facilitator can find out more by emailing


Top Left to Right: Bob Tillman, PhD; Victoria McDonnel, PhD; Rick McGee, PhD; Anne Lynn Gillian-Daniel, PhD; Bruce Birren, PhD; Kermin Martínez-Hernández, PhD; Lori Adams, PhD; Anne Marie Weber-Main, PhD; Stephanie Robert, PhD; Dennis Durbin, MD; Pam Asquith, PhD; Amy Prunuske, PhD; Christine Sorkness, RPh, PharmD; Melissa McDaniels, PhD; Amber Smith, PhD; Evelyn Frazier, PhD; Janet Branchaw, PhD; Harlan Jones, PhD; Sandra Crouse-Quinn, PhD; Emily Utzerath, MA; Steven Lee, PhD; Angela Byars-Winston, PhD; Beronda Montgomery, PhD; Andrew Greenberg, PhD; Mitchell Feldman, MD, MPhil, FACP; Kelly Diggs-Andrews, PhD; Adriana Báez, PhD; Stephanie House, MA; and Christine Pfund, PhD.

Not pictured: Cheri Barta, PhD; Philip Cheng, PhD; Kelley Harris Johnson, PhD; Patricia Kokotailo, PhD; Emma Meagher, MD; Sarah Miller, PhD; Beth Meyerand, PhD; Anna Sokac, PhD; Kim Spencer, BS; Stephen Thomas, PhD; Earlise Ward, PhD, LP, and Sonia Zárate, PhD.

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