The health of minorities and the reduction and eventual elimination of health disparities in the United States will largely depend on advancements in scientific health disparities research. Such advancements can only be accomplished by training, mentoring, and supporting the next generation of health disparities scientists. Consequently, the primary goal of the Investigator Development Core of the Center for Latino Health Research Opportunities (CLaRO) is to enhance the scientific career development of diverse post-doctoral fellows, junior faculty, and other early stage investigators at the University of Miami.
The Specific Aims of the Investigator Development Core are to: (1) Conduct a Pilot Projects Program to enhance the scientific career development of diverse early career health disparity researchers. The Pilot Projects Program will fund 30 to 35 studies at the University of Miami (UM) that collect preliminary data related to the Center?s theme and conceptual framework to generate new R-level grant applications. The Core will also facilitate and support the dissemination of study findings from these pilot projects; (2) Deliver, in collaboration with the Administrative Core, a Research Education Training Program for early career health disparity researchers. This annual two-week training program will focus on providing research experience and increasing the skills required for the development and submission of competitive NIH R-level research grant applications. The Research Education Training Program will include (but not be limited to) topics such as: NIMHD?s health disparities research framework, etiology of health disparities in Latino populations, grantsmanship, and responsible conduct for research when conducting Latino health research; and (3) Link pilot project awardees and trainees participating in the Research Education Training Program to two mentors: a research mentor at UM from the Scientific Mentorship Board and a career mentor external to UM. Research mentors will guide trainees in the specific content area (e.g., integrated substance abuse and HIV prevention intervention development for Latino sexual/gender minority youth), whereas career mentors will provide guidance to mentees on general professional/career development. This mentoring strategy recognizes the importance of a multi-mentor approach with a focus on both content area and professional development. It also recognizes the fact that some important mentoring roles may be accomplished with distance mentoring through e-mails, phone and video conferences, and infrequent meetings. The Investigator Development Core capitalizes on the infrastructure and expertise inherent in the Administrative and the Community Engagement and Dissemination cores and on the expertise of more than two dozen senior faculty mentors at the UM conducting research in CLaRO?s thematic areas and producing more than $30 million dollars of annualized NIH funding.
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