HHS Office of Research

School of Health and Human Sciences

Below is a summary of some of the fantastic research-related resources we have learned about from our faculty. Most focus on enhancing diversity in the biomedical sciences or training scholars to address health disparities.


1. Center for Health Equity Research (CHER) Institute

“Now in its sixth year, the CHER Institute is proud to offer a program aiming to enhance the readiness of early career faculty at minority-serving institutions (MSIs) to conduct community-based, social and health behavior research and to increase their representation among National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded investigators.”


Typically, CHER is a 6 day intensive research training experience at California State University, Long Beach in June.  The delivery mode for the coming year will be virtual.  The priority deadline to apply is typically in February or March.  If interested, subscribe to their email list.


If you are selected as a fellow, all expenses are covered by the program.  Three faculty from HHS have participated in this program in the recent past:
    • Yarneccia Dyson, SWK
    • Jennifer Erausquin, PHE
    • Erica Payton, PHE
These faculty noted that benefits included:
    • workshop format to receive feedback on and revise specific aims for a NIH proposal
    • excellent advice/feedback on research ideas via mock review panel that strengthened subsequent proposals
    • mentoring by senior faculty, including those who understand the challenges of research productivity for faculty in institutions with heavy teaching loads
    • develop a detailed, multi-year professional development plan
    • expanded professional network; long-term relationship with mentor is encouraged beyond the week of the institute
    • Fellows are given access to webinars several times a year that focus on grantsmanship as well as community based participatory research, etc


2. NIMHD Health Disparities Research Institute

“The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) hosts a Health Disparities Research Institute (HDRI) in August each year; please review the HDRI program page for details.

The program will feature lectures on minority health and health disparities research, small group discussions, mock grant review, and seminars. Institute participants will have the opportunity to meet with NIH scientific staff engaged in related health disparities research across the various NIH Institutes and Centers.

Lecture and seminar topics will focus on the etiology of health disparities, methods and measurement, and intervention and implementation research. Participants will receive consultation on developing a research interest into an application – R21, R01, K award, as well as consultation on research strategies and methodologies for proposed studies.

This program is intended for early-stage research investigators who have completed their terminal degree or post-graduate clinical training within the past 10 years. To see if you qualify as an early-stage investigator, please click here. Additionally, applicants must have a Ph.D., M.D./D.O., Sc.D., Dr. P.H., Pharm.D., Psy.D., D.D.S./D.M.D. or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution. Applications will only be accepted from post-doctoral fellows, assistant professors, or early-stage investigators in comparable research positions. Further, applications will only be accepted from individuals who are planning to submit a K or R grant to NIH within the next 12 months. Individuals from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.”

Applications are typically due in Feb-March, and fellows are notified in May.  There is no registration/participation fee.  Transportation, lodging and meals are not covered by the program, but some travel scholarships may be available.

Thus far, we have had one HHS Faculty member participate: Yarneccia Dyson (SWK).  Yarneccia raved about this program (which was virtual in 2020).   She noted you must have a well-developed research project in mind at the time of application and make a commitment to apply to NIH for funding in the next year.  Dr. Dyson noted that seeing the mock review process, getting feedback from lead senior scientists in the field as well as her peers, and meeting the chief of NIMHD were particularly impactful aspects of the program last August.


3. National Center for Faculty Diversity and Development (NCFDD)

The UNCG institutional affiliation in NCFDD allows our faculty and graduate students to benefit from many free resources including the 14 Day Writing Challenge and a number of pre-recorded webinars.  Check out Building and Leading Successful Research Teams, Developing Anti-Oppressive Communities: Supporting Black Students and Mentees, and Building a Publishing Pipeline.  These links will only work if you have signed up for and logged in to the NCFDD site.

In summer 2020, two HHS Faculty, Stephanie Irby Coard (HDF) and Erin Reifsteck (KIN) participated in the 12 week Faculty Success Program.  This program does have an additional fee, but they may also provide scholarships if university funds are not available.  Coard and Reifsteck described some notable features of this program:

    • Very helpful given intensive and structured programming, guided by individual strategic plan
    • Individual strategic plan is very helpful in staying on course and working intentionally to achieve my goals.
    • Monthly core curriculum webinars and monthly guest speaker webinars
    • Access to multi-week courses
    • There was a training module each week including topics like creating a strategic plan for your semester, how to create a weekly plan, how to identify resistance (internal and external) for writing
    • Access to member library that includes past webinar materials, referrals, and readings
    • Participants are strategically assigned to small groups based on survey responses and each group has a coach who works with them; the groups meet weekly to discuss the training module and to serve as accountability partners to one another
    • They provided a writing time tracker.  This helps with personal accountability and reinforced the importance of building writing time into weekly/daily schedules. Although I had always known the value of a daily writing practice, this program was transformational because it trained me to do it effectively and provided reinforcement to follow through.
    • Participants can also request a meeting with a master coach to discuss specific topics such as how to strategically plan for a leave; how to address resistance to writing; how to create effective collaborations with people who are busy, etc
    • Prior to participating in this program I was less aware of and engaging less with NCFDD materials; now I am more aware of new resources by virtue of the Monday Motivator and other communications they send.  The Monday Motivator email is a great reminder to keep using the strategies I learned, and they are very tuned in to the current reality for faculty.
    • I have maintained connections with my small group and that has been valuable


4. The National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN)

Tanya Coakley and Yarneccia Dyson (SWK) shared this resource.

From the website: “Through our national network, we implement and disseminate innovative, evidence-based best practices to improve mentoring relationships at institutions across the country. We connect highly knowledgeable and skilled mentors with motivated and diverse mentees, ranging from undergraduate students to early-career faculty, and facilitate long-term, culturally responsive interactions between them. We are committed to establishing a culture in which historically underrepresented mentees successfully progress in their careers and contribute to the biomedical research enterprise.”

History of the program:

“In 2011, a study found that scientists from racial minority groups are awarded research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at significantly lower rates than their white counterparts. Furthermore, evidence shows that individuals from historically marginalized groups are disproportionately underrepresented at all levels of the biomedical workforce, from undergraduate students to faculty members.

To address the lack of diversity in the biomedical research workforce, the NIH launched a broad, trans-institutional strategy in 2014, including the Diversity Program Consortium (DPC). The DPC is funded by the NIH Common Fund and managed by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). For NIH definitions of underrepresented populations in the U.S. biomedical research enterprise, see NOT-OD-20-031 and NOT-OD-15-089.

The overarching goal of the DPC is to develop, implement, assess, and disseminate innovative and effective approaches to engaging, training, and mentoring students; enhancing faculty development; and strengthening institutional research training infrastructure to enhance the participation and persistence of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds in biomedical research careers.”

NRMN is one of multiple strategies employed as a result of the 2014 DPC.  You may volunteer to be a mentor or request a mentor. Please share this resource broadly as it has resources for career stages ranging from undergraduates to faculty to administrators.