Health Equity Leadership Institute 2019 Application Open

HELI 2019 dates

The application is now open for our 9th Annual Health Equity Leadership Institute (HELI) coming up June 17-21, 2019 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison! We’d appreciate if you could share this message widely across your professional networks and encourage excellent health equity scholars to apply!

To find the application link and learn more about HELI, please click here or visit:

NOTE – Friday, February 15 @ 9:20am:
Today is the deadline to apply for HELI 2019, but we aren’t going to be reviewing applications over the weekend. You may submit through Sunday 2/17 and still be considered ‘on time.’ Email with any questions!

HELI 2019 dates

Incoming Clinical Investigation Students for Fall 2018

The Graduate Program in Clinical Investigation remains an integral part of UW ICTR support for workforce development. This fall saw two incoming PhD students in Clinical Investigation, three Masters students in Clinical investigation, and four incoming PhD students in Clinical & Translational Science (the former PhD minor program), for totals of 17, 13, and 15 students respectively.

Click here for a gallery of the incoming students.

An additional 14 students are newly enrolled in Certificate Programs either in the Fundamentals of Clinical Research or Community & Clinical Outcomes Research. Students can elect for Capstone, Graduate or Professional Certificates depending on their goals. Many students begin with enrollment in a certificate program and transition to either the PhD or the Masters programs as the core curriculum is shared.

Beth Meyerand, one of the Directors of the TL1 program, comments,

Our TL1 trainees are all expected to complete the core curriculum as PhD students in either Clinical Investigation or Clinical & Translational Science. By enrolling in these programs, they receive a strong foundation in the essential competencies of clinical and translational research. It is a testament to the strength of the program that so many students recognize the value of these degrees.

Application materials, deadlines and other program material are found on the web pages for the Graduate Program in Clinical Investigation and the Certificate Programs.

Career Development Awards for 2018

The 2018 renewal of the UW ICTR Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from NIH allowed selection of the newest group of KL2 Scholars (early stage investigators), and TL1 trainees (pre-doctoral students in Clinical Investigation). With appointments beginning this summer, three KL2 scholars joined the program, along with five TL1 trainees.

The full roster of new and existing KL2 scholars and TL1 trainees is found on our Career Development page.

Also new this year was the naming of a TL1 Post-Doctoral Fellow to a new appointment type intended to bridge the transition between traditional clinical fellowships and research faculty positions. Rob Lemanske, ICTR Deputy Executive Director for Workforce Development, comments,

Rob Lemanske, MD

We selected Emma Mohr as our first TL1 Post-Doctoral fellow in this new training pathway. Not only is Emma an exceptionally promising researcher in a clinical area with high translational potential, her career stage is very representative of the junior investigators we hope to support with this new program.

Mohr is a Research Fellow/Instructor in the Department of Pediatrics who is expected to be a strong candidate for a faculty position when her ICTR fellowship is completed.

While the incoming TL1 trainees have increased the total number of participants in the program from 10 to 12, there was no corresponding increase in the number of KL2 scholars. Instead, the workforce development team focused on expanding access to the KL2 scholars career development programming to a broader array of K career development award investigators.

Manish Shah, ICTR Director for KL2 Scholars, notes,

Manish Shah

Our continuing CTSA support for workforce development programming has allowed us to welcome scholars from other K training awards on campus, as well as individuals holding individual K grants.

ICTR staff focused on workforce development have done an exceptional job over that past 10 years creating a career-stage appropriate series of training sessions. Our ability to share access more widely with other NIH-funded trainees is emblematic of how ICTR acts as an institution-wide resource.

KL2 Scholars receive 75% protected time and a research stipend, plus career development programming to develop proficiency in topics such as mentor/mentee training, team science, and leadership, in addition to many other research competencies. Likewise, the TL1 trainees receive a travel allowance, participate in manuscript and grant writing groups, and benefit from bi-annual mentor meetings organized by ICTR, on top of a full graduate student stipend and tuition remission.

More information about these programs is found on our Career Development page.

CCHE Establishes Inaugural ‘CCHE Health Equity Research Fellows’ Cohort

Portrait collage (left to right, top to bottom) of Olufunmilola Abraham, Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi, Kara Hoppe, Jennifer Weiss, Ryan Westergaard, Yang Sao Xiong

The Collaborative Center for Health Equity (CCHE) team has nearly doubled in size in 2018, reaffirming the health equity priority of both the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) and the School of Medicine and Public Health.

This summer CCHE announced Dr. Stephanie Budge as the AHEAD Faculty Director and Dr. Angela Byars-Winston as a new CCHE Associate Director. In September, CCHE also welcomes Senior Scientist Dr. Susan Passmore as a new Assistant Director for Community Engaged Research. Dr. Passmore comes to us from the Maryland Center for Health Equity at the University of Maryland, College Park where she was part of the team that developed the Building Trust Between Minorities and Researchers education programs including the Becoming a Self-Reflective Researcher: Successfully Engaging Minority Communitiescurriculum designed to strengthen the capacity of researchers to build relationships for effective recruitment and retention of minority participants in research. Stay tuned for information about ‘Becoming a Self-Reflective Researcher’ workshops to be offered here at UW.

In addition to the growing the leadership team, CCHE is also pleased to announce an inaugural cohort of CCHE Health Equity Research Fellows.

CCHE Health Equity Research Fellows have been selected for the excellent health equity research they conduct, which is aligned with CCHE’s Mission to build lasting partnerships and engage university and community partners in collaborative teaching, research and service initiatives to improve health equity in Wisconsin’s underserved communities. CCHE is establishing this inaugural class of Fellows to raise the visibility of health equity scholarship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, expand our research portfolio and support new interdisciplinary research collaborations on campus.

Fellows will receive a stipend to support their health equity research, and serve as ambassadors for CCHE, presenting on their research at the newly initiated monthly Health Equity Research Seminars to launch in Spring 2019, and participating as peer mentors with CCHE’s AHEAD and HELI career development programs.

The six inaugural CCHE Health Equity Research Fellows are: Olufunmilola Abraham (Pharmacy), Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi (Nursing), Kara Hoppe (SMPH-OBGYN), Jennifer Weiss (SMPH-Medicine), Ryan Westergaard (SMPH-Medicine), and Yang Sao Xiong (Social Work). Congratulations to all!

The CCHE team is excited to share this new feature to our programming and will continue to provide updates about our work!

Congratulations to HELI Alum Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi

Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi (center back) and her research team. Photo courtesy of Alexander Andre.

Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing and a recent recipient of an ICTR Collaborative Health Equity Research (CHER) Pilot Award, has received a Paul B. Beeson Emerging Leaders Career Development Award in Aging (K76) from the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

Gilmore-Bykovskyi’s project, Novel Approaches to Identifying and Engaging Disadvantaged Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease in Clinical Research, focuses on improving access and engagement in Alzheimer’s Disease research among individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, such as racial and ethnic minorities and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Although individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds are at significantly greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, they are disproportionately underrepresented in research. The proposed study will validate and trial Alzheimer’s screening and recruitment approaches tailored within acute care environments, which are underutilized in standard research recruitment strategies. The project will also support validation of electronic health record screening tools for Alzheimer’s and the specification of these tools for different populations.

Dorothy Edwards, Director of the UW Collaborative Center for Health Equity, notes,

Our team was delighted to learn more about Andrea’s fantastic community-engaged research efforts when she participated as a HELI 2018 Scholar. She has just accepted our invitation to join the inaugural cohort of CCHE Health Equity Research Fellows along with five other exceptional Fellows. Her work explores best practices in recruiting underserved populations into clinical trials using a combination of modern health informatics tools and tailored recruitment strategies. This is very important and timely work targeted to address persistent health disparities among diverse and underserved memebers of Wisconsin communities.

The Beeson award program is a collaboration between the NIA, the John A. Hartford Foundation, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).


Maternal-Fetal Health Focus of 2018 AHEAD Pilot Awards

The UW ICTR Advancing Health Equity and Diversity (AHEAD) Pilot Program has awarded two new grants in response to the 2018 RFA. The ICTR Collaborative Center for Health Equity (CCHE) is home to the AHEAD program administration, and CCHE faculty affiliate, Stephanie Budge, School of Education, serves as faculty director. Budge notes:

Stephanie BudgeI am very pleased that one of my first privileges as incoming director of AHEAD is to preside over the selection of this year’s AHEAD Pilot Award winners. As a former AHEAD Scholar and Pilot Award recipient myself, I know the key role that pilot awards can play not only in terms of providing resources, but also in supporting interdisciplinary projects and mentoring for individuals whose research focuses on health disparities/health equity. Congratulations Linnea and Madelyne!

Budge recently replaced Carmen Valdez, who is beginning a new position at the University of Texas at Austin. Read more.

Both of this year’s awardees are conducting research addressing prenatal care. Disparities in infant mortality and pregnancy outcomes continue to be a persistent and challenging issue to address across Wisconsin and the nation, and particularly with individuals who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health care based on racial or ethnic group membership.

Linnea Evans, PhD, MPH, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Health Disparities Research Scholar Program, UW School of Medicine and Public Health
Mentors: Stephanie Robert, UW School of Social Work; Deborah Ehrenthal, UW Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Population Health Sciences
Research: Effects of Stress on Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Hypertension and Pregnancy Outcomes

Madelyne Greene, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Health Disparities Research Scholar Program, UW School of Medicine and Public Health
Mentor: Deborah Ehrenthal, UW Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Population Health Sciences
Research: Understanding Implementation of Prenatal Care Coordination in Wisconsin Counties

First Collaborative Health Equity Research Pilot Awards Announced

Two black women discussing diabetes education in a book filled room.

The new Collaborative Health Equity Research (CHER) Pilot Award has announced its first awardees. Olayinka Shiyanbola (School of Pharmacy) and Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi (School of Nursing) each received $50,000 to support community-engaged research projects focused on health disparities.

The health issues addressed by these research projects, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, are both ones for which considerable disparities exist in disease burden and prevalence. Applicants are required to cite published evidence that the health disparity or inequity is recognized by state or federal agencies as significant and warranting intervention.

Full description of the research awards.

Like several other pilot awards, the CHER pilots will allow investigators to collect preliminary data for future grant applications. In addition, these awards have an explicit commitment to the career development of early stage investigators and require applicants to identify a senior mentor and form an interdisciplinary team.

The award program was jointly developed by the ICTR Community-Academic Partnerships core (ICTR-CAP) and the UW Collaborative Center for Health Equity (CCHE) as part of their shared mission to support community-engaged research.

Maureen Smith, Director of ICTR-CAP core, comments:

Maureen Smith, MD, PhD, MPHICTR-CAP proudly supported the launch of the new CHER award. All the T2 to T4 funding mechanisms encourage health disparities research, support mentorship of early career investigators, and provide incentives for community and academic collaborations. The new CHER award is unique in requiring all three of these components for a successful proposal. Congratulations CHER awardees!

Christine Sorkness, ICTR Senior Associate Executive Director, adds,

Christine Sorkness, PharmDThis award program builds on the existing AHEAD pilot awards program that ICTR  administers for the campus Advancing Health Equity and Diversity initiative. CCHE plays a major role in supporting post-doctoral or junior faculty scholars through that program and the new CHER awards are a natural progression. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to facilitate these two excellent research projects from Olayinka and Andrea in collaboration with our colleagues from CAP.

Read more about the initial release of the CHER RFA last August.

Largest Class of Clinical Investigation Students Enrolled Fall 2017

Telephoto lens view of Bascom Hall, viewed through the trees on Library Mall during an late afternoon in spring.

Four PhD students and six masters degree students in Clinical Investigation started in September 2017, together with eight PhD students in Clinical and Translational Science (CTS, former PhD minor). They joined a select, very active community of students (31 current) participating in the degree programs administered by UW ICTR. In addition, six of the eight CTS students were also appointed to positions in the  TL1 training program for pre-doctoral scholars.

A complete list of doctoral and masters students entering in September.

Rob Lemanske, ICTR Deputy Executive Director and director of training for the graduate program, notes:

Rob Lemanske, MDWe are happy to welcome the largest incoming class ever in the eight years since the Clinical Investigation degree program was approved. In addition, half the incoming class initially worked on a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Clinical Research. By design, the Certificate shares a core of foundational courses with the master’s and the doctoral degree programs.

Hence, students can start with a certificate to test the waters for the fit of academics with their busy professional lives. Like many prior entrants into the program, nine out of ten entering students this year are returning adult students who are fitting coursework into new faculty, fellowship, and scientist positions. Welcome!

Applications to the Masters and PhD programs in Clinical Investigation for the 2018 class are due Feb 1.

Admissions this year is via a new online process through the UW Graduate School. Applications to the CTS (or PhD minor) program are accepted throughout the year. Read More.

ICTR also administers a TL1 Predoctoral Training Program as part of its Clinical and Translational Science Award from NIH. With the renewal of the ICTR grant this fall, we were able to increase the total number of trainees supported to 10 from the six in previous years.

This training program includes a stipend, health insurance, tuition and fees, travel funds, a monthly writing workshop, and biannual mentor meetings. Trainees must be pursuing either the PhD in Clinical Investigation or have added the PhD-CTS degree to their major field of study. The RFA for the 2018 TL1 Predoctoral Training Program will be released at the end of January, with applications due March 15.

A complete list of current TL1 trainees, their mentors, and fields of study (scroll down).