Customized Career Development Platform Being Tested at ICTR

The Customized Career Development Platform (CCDP) is an online app in which scholars and trainees develop an Individualized Development Plan (IDP), as required by NIH. This interactive tool facilitates interactions between between mentees and mentors and enables mentees to strategically plan their career.

Originally created by investigators at the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Clinical Research Education (ICRE), the CCDP is being validated by a cluster randomized trial across 28 CTSA sites, including UW ICTR. Manish Shah, ICTR Co-Director of the KL2 Career Development Program and local lead for the study, comments,

Manish ShahCareer development programs are critical for trainees and faculty as they build their careers. ICTR is committed to understanding the most effective approaches so as to improve career outcomes of K Scholars and T Fellows.

This randomized controlled trial will test an online CCDP that enables participants to document competency-based goals, objectives, and milestones related to research and career progress against our current IDP.

The trial aims to promote the careers of trainees and scholars, test the effectiveness of the CCDP, and assess trainees’ and scholars’ satisfaction with the CCDP. More information about the study can be found on the ICRE website.

Investigative Team:


ICTR Joins National Trial for Diversifying the Biomedical Research Workforce

UW ICTR will participate in the Building Up study developed at the University of Pittsburgh to test the effectiveness of a career development intervention designed for postdoctoral trainees and junior faculty who come from populations underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis. As a participant in the intervention arm of the multi-site study, local scholars will receive specialized career development webinars, mentoring, coursework, and networking opportunities intended to promote their retention in the translational research workforce.

Twenty-five institutions including UW-Madison are participating in the national NIH-funded trial of Building Up a Diverse Workforce for Biomedical Research. Olayinka Shiyanbola, PhD, BPharm, and Michelle Chui, PharmD, PhD, both former ICTR KL2 scholars, will serve as leads for the local Building Up program. Dr. Shiyanbola notes,

Building Up is one of the programs that arose from efforts of the NIH National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN). Our ICTR mentorship group has been a key player in NRMN and we are very fortunate to have their expertise available as we roll out our local implementation of the intervention.

Most recently, the ICTR Mentorship group has served as the national Coordination Center for NRMN and UW has a substantial number of faculty who have received Research Mentor training. Dr. Chui, also a co-Director of the ICTR TL1 Career Development Program, adds,

This is an exciting opportunity for ICTR. By participating in this trial we are able to enrich our mission-central initiatives to advance diversity and inclusive excellence.

Many of the other career development programs directly or indirectly supported by ICTR are eager to see the outcomes of this model and how it might ultimately be applicable to their initiatives. We consider the Building Up program as an evidence-based addition to the ICTR research career development portfolio built on effective mentoring relationships.

Drs. Chui and Shiyanbola have long-standing relationships with career development programming and health equity initiatives at ICTR. In addition to being former KL2 Scholars, Dr. Shiyanbola is a past participant in the annual Health Equity Leadership Institute and both are affiliated with the UW Collaborative Center for Health Equity.

The ICTR site has enrolled six early career investigators to participate in the Building Up study and the study is now closed to additional enrollment. Participation criteria were determined by the national trial organizers and scholars will be followed for two years beyond the one-year intervention.

Call for Trainers: CTSA Translational Research Fellowship

The UW School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM), an ICTR partner school, is recruiting UW trainers for 2-year research fellowships designed to engage veterinary clinical specialists in inter-disciplinary research teams. Funded by a CTSA Innovation Award through  The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) to the CTSA One Health Alliance (COHA), these fellowships will prepare residency-trained veterinary specialists to undertake research projects with high potential for translation to human disease.

COHA is a consortium of veterinary schools partnered with medical and other colleagues through the CTSA program. As a founding member, SVM and ICTR partners have taken the lead in designing and implementing the research career development and mentorship program at UW and nationwide.

Read more on the CTSA Program News site.

SVM/COHA is recruiting descriptions of potential fellowship opportunities from mentors appropriate for research training of veterinary specialists. These fellowship opportunities should include a clear translational research program for a veterinary specialist, an interdisciplinary mentor team with a mix of backgrounds, active NIH or comparable federal funding for at least one mentor, and a clear mentorship and collaboration plan. A potential fellow should not be identified in the pre-submission.

Pre-submissions describing proposed fellowship opportunities should be submitted to Lauren Trepanier ( by July 1, 2020, for  anticipated fellowship start dates in August 2021

Additional details and trainer application forms are available on the ICTR Career Development page

Contact Lauren Trepanier, or Robert Rebhun, if you have questions about this opportunity.

TL1 Pre-Doctoral Program Adds Team Science Training Component

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

A new dimension was added this year to the ICTR TL1 pre-doctoral training program. Applicants had the choice of applying using the existing process as individuals or with a new application designed for TL1 training teams. Teams are composed of two pre-doctoral trainees and two faculty mentors working collaboratively on a shared project requiring the intellectual contribution of team members from distinct disciplines. Mark Burkard, Co-PI of the TL1 Training Program, comments,

Mark BurkardWe began this endeavor as part of our participation in a national pilot study of team-science training. Originating at the University of Florida, this study expanded in 2019 to four sites including ICTR. Participating sites used a common application and evaluation process for training teams and will provide all TL1 trainees (team-based and individual) with a semester-long team science training workshop.

We expect the data to demonstrate that training in multidisciplinary teams is an efficient way for students to learn and master the skills (communication, emotional intelligence, leadership) necessary for undertaking complex, translational science projects during their careers.

In addition to the class planned for the fall semester for the TL1 trainees, the co-mentors received co-mentoring training facilitated by Christine Pfund and Beth Meyerand. Ultimately all TL1 trainees will be evaluated for such things as retention in clinical and translational research careers, overall productivity, and multidisciplinary nature of their research teams.

At UW, the two TL1 Team Science Pairs for 2019 include:

Neural Correlates of Abnormal Foot Force in Chronic Stroke

  • Trainees: Jenny Bartloff (Kinesiology) and Arman Kulkarni (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Mentors: Kreg Gruben (Kinesiology)and Vivek Prabhakaran (Radiology)

Describing the connection between neurological changes and abnormal foot-ground force direction control after stroke. This study combines various novel imaging modalities, big data analysis, and biomechanical measurements of balance and gait.

Novel Wearable to Quantify Tissue Load & Monitor Post-Op Recovery

  • Trainees: Sara Harper (Biomedical Engineering) and Keith Knurr (Clinical Investigation)
  • Mentors: Bryan Heiderscheit (Orthopedics & Rehabilitation) and Darryl Thelen (Mechanical Engineering)

Testing a field-based wearable device to monitor tendon stress among athletes after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery and inform clinical decisions about return to sport decisions. This study requires optimization of biomechanical measurements, and complex data processing, analysis and storage.

Three additional incoming TL1 Trainees join five continuing students for a total of 12 trainees in the TL1 program for the 2019-2020 Academic year:

  • Karly Cody (PhD Neuroscience, CTS focus; Sterling Johnson-Medicine)
  • Justin Jagodinsky (MD-PhD Cellular & Molecular biology, CTS focus; Paul Sondel-Pediatrics)
  • Maria Schletzbaum (MD-PhD Epidemiology; Christie Bartels-Medicine)

TL1 trainee applications for start dates in 2020 are due April 1, 2020.

The TL1 Trainees are part of the ICTR Graduate Program in Clinical Investigation.

Click here to see all incoming graduate students for Fall 2019


BEAM Initiative Connects Incoming M1 Students with Trained Faculty Mentors

At an invitational event early this fall, 33 incoming medical students met on the third floor of the Health Sciences Learning Center for an early evening kickoff of a new mentoring program for underrepresented students. The Building Equitable Access to Mentorship (BEAM) initiative matches faculty and students for an academic year-long program designed to enhance the medical school experience for individuals of color and other marginalized identities. Tracy Downs, SMPH Associate Dean for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, comments,

Tracy Down, MDWe are proud that our recruitment effort paid off this year with the largest ever enrollment at SMPH of students from racial/ethnic groups underrepresented in medicine, but that achievement is only the first step. It is equally, or more important that we enrich the experiences of these students and sustain their career satisfaction in every way we can.

The BEAM Initiative connects incoming students (M1s) with faculty role-models from the SMPH Affiliate Centennial Scholars Program. This program is unique in academic medicine and represents a partnership of the SMPH Academic Affairs Offices of Faculty Affairs & Development and Multicultural Affairs with the ICTR Collaborative Center for Health Equity (CCHE). Angela Byars-Winston, Associate Director of ICTR CCHE, notes,

Angela Byars-Winston, PhDBEAM was created to connect trained faculty mentors with individuals from groups historically under-represented in medicine. Our primary goal is to support talent development in these M1 students by building self-efficacy for degree completion and cultural navigation skills.

Byars-Winston is a nationally recognized expert in the role of cultural influences on academic and career development and an integral member of the ICTR Mentoring Research Group. As part of her current scholarship, she has been leading and developing a Culturally-Aware Mentorship (CAM) Initiative, which was awarded a U01 from the NIH National Research Mentoring Network this summer. She adds,

Our faculty mentors have already made a substantial commitment of time to training in culturally aware mentoring practices prior to meeting their new mentees. This training curriculum took advantage of the breadth and depth of expertise in research mentor training that has grown on the UW campus for close to two decades.

More about other research mentor training initiatives is available online. Students can also contact Manuel Santiago,, at the SMPH Office of Multicultural Affairs for information about upcoming opportunities and events through that office.

The seed for this program was planted by last year’s M1 students. Downs notes,

In listening to last year’s new students, the theme that came up over and over again was their desire for mentoring experiences. We developed the BEAM initiative to fill that gap. Our team worked for six to eight months to design the curriculum, recruit and train faculty mentors, and attract student participants. We feel like it has been a very successful partnership so far and based on our student’s reactions, the kickoff evening was a huge success!

The Science of Effective Mentorship in STEMM

Academies STEMM report

CCHE would like to alert you to the upcoming release of the new National Academies report, The Science of Effective Mentorship in STEMM ~

This Science of Effective Mentorship in Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine, and Mathematics (STEMM) report systematically compiles and analyzes current research on the characteristics, competencies, and behaviors of effective mentors and mentees in STEMM. In addition to the comprehensive report, the committee will share a practical resource guide for mentoring practitioners to create and support viable, sustainable mentoring support systems.

The quality, vigor, and innovation of the US STEMM enterprise depend on increasing the diversity of individuals, research teams, and leadership in STEMM fields. This in turn requires the advancement of women, individuals from racial/ethnic groups historically underrepresented in STEMM, and first-generation students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Effective, high-quality, and sustainable mentoring relationships for diverse individuals across career stages are essential in supporting student success (e.g., performance, persistence) in STEMM fields, especially for many members of these historically underrepresented populations.

Report Launch

The public release of the report is set for Wednesday, October 30, 2019 from 12:00-2:00pm CDT and anyone who’s interested may attend virtually. Learn more and register here.

CCHE Associate Director Angela Byars-Winston, PhD, (chair) and Director of the UW ICTR Mentoring Initiatives Christine Pfund, PhD, were on the committee that compiled this report. Important work!

View additional details about this project at

UW-Madison Team Received ACTS Distinguished Educator Award for Research Mentor Training Programs

Two University of Wisconsin collaborators were recently honored with a prestigious award from the Association of Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS). Christine Sorkness, PharmD, RPh, Distinguished Professor of Pharmacy and Medicine, and Christine Pfund, PhD, Senior Scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education and director of the  Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experience in Research (CIMER), were honored in March at the 2019 ACTS Annual Meeting with a Distinguished Educator Award for their decades long partnership to improve research mentor training programs for scholars in the biomedical workforce.

Together, Sorkness and Pfund have led programs at UW ICTR to prepare early stage investigators for successful careers in biomedical research, in particular research that speeds the translation of scientific findings into interventions to improve human health. Nominators applauded their passion for improving teaching and mentoring through evidence-based mentor training programs, alongside a deep commitment to diversifying the biomedical workforce. Marc Drezner, MD, former executive director of UW ICTR, comments,

I was privileged to work with ‘the two Chrises’ during my time at ICTR. The mentor training practices they established became national benchmarks for improving the guidance that research mentors provide to their mentees.

Furthermore, they established a train-the-trainer model to widely disseminate their research mentor training curricula and both played leading roles in the NIH National Research Mentoring Network. Ultimately, their mentor training programs reached more than 9500 graduate students, junior faculty, and senior faculty nationwide, a very impressive achievement!

Sorkness and Pfund were nominated on behalf of local and national colleagues by Allan Brasier, MD, current executive director of ICTR and SMPH Senior Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research. UW ICTR receives support from an NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) and is a member of the nationwide consortium of over 60 CTSA sites. Brasier notes,

Our yearly reviews from NIH consistently point to the mentor training program led by Sorkness and Pfund as an important strength of our program. Remarkably, their mentor training programs have reached 75% of CTSA sites across the country. They have really had a national impact on workforce development beyond UW.

As the mentor training programs housed at ICTR expanded, Sorkness and Pfund were able to leverage that success, ultimately becoming leaders in the NIH-NRMN initiative. One outcome of NRMN has been the creation of a new Culturally Aware Mentoring (CAM) module, focused on improving mentor relationships for individuals from diverse backgrounds, communities, and cultures.

Designed to support the NRMN goal of significantly advancing the representation and success of traditionally underrepresented groups in biomedical research, CAM has been delivered as intensive one-day training workshops at select CTSA sites. Other trainings have been held at pre-conference sessions linked to regional and national meetings drawing diverse scholars, such as the CIC Academic Network (Big 10 Academic Alliance).

Angela Byars-Winston , PhD, Professor of Medicine and Associate Director of the UW Collaborative Center for Health Equity, leads the CAM Initiative for NRMN at ICTR. She adds,

Angela Byars-WinstonPfund and Sorkness have been dedicated to advancing the careers of others and have worked alongside people from diverse backgrounds in an effort to diversify the workforce. Our collaborations in the area of cultural influences on academic and career development have been very productive. Congratulations on a well-deserved honor!

Byars-Winston currently chairs the Committee on the Science of Effective Mentoring in STEMM through the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, of which Pfund is a member.

Read more about the work generated by their teams.

2019 TL1 Predoctoral RFAs Include New Team Applications

Applying and being trained in teams is a new feature of the TL1 Predoctoral Training Program in 2019. Applicants have the option of applying in teams of two trainees and two trainers. So-called “team trainees” will participate in the same training activities as the program’s individual trainees-trainers. In addition, they will collaborate on a research project with a trainee from a different PhD program and their co-trainers will be trained as co-mentors through the ICTR Mentoring Team. The two trainees must be in different doctoral degree programs and their co-trainers must have primary appointments in different departments.

Allan Brasier, ICTR Executive Director and a national expert in team science, notes,

Research has shown that the inclusion of different types of roles on research teams improves the team’s effectiveness. In particular, the inclusion of graduate students on multidisciplinary teams increases the likelihood of breakthrough scientific publications.

Beth Meyerand, co-PI of the TL1 program, adds,

Team trainees will benefit from a new one-credit team science seminar which will help them develop their collaboration plan. The University of Florida has found that the collaboration adds value to the dissertation of each of the trainees, specifically by helping shape one of the specific aims of the research project.

Other CTSA sites in this new national pilot program are Mayo and the University of Kentucky. The four sites will use traditionally trained TL1 students as a control group. At UW, the two types of trainees will be compared for long-term outcomes, such as persistently working in clinical and translational science and the multidisciplinary nature of their research teams after graduation.

Meyerand quotes Wayne McCormack, University of Florida training director and PI of the national pilot program,

Our mantra is ‘Students work in teams in their clinical and translational science careers. Why not train them in teams?’

TL1 trainees, both team-based and individual, will take 14-15 credits of Clinical Investigation Graduate Program coursework, lead twice annual mentor meetings, participate in a TL1 writing workshop, and receive a travel allowance and NIH predoctoral monthly stipend. The 14-15 credit requirement replaces the prior requirement for a PhD minor in Clinical and Translational Science.

Applications are due April 1 for both types of TL1 pre-doctoral awards. In addition, an information session for the team trainee application will be held March 1.



Bringing Cultural Awareness into Mentoring Relationships

HELI NRMN CAM workshop

This October 6, the annual Health Equity Leadership Institute (HELI) shared the marquee with a one day training workshop created by the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN). This special opportunity was designed to promote an innovative NIH-funded initiative addressing cultural diversity in research mentoring relationships.

Christine Pfund, one of the NRMN PIs and Director of Mentorship Initiatives for the UW-Madison Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR), notes,

Christine Pfund

We had an exciting opportunity to expose alumni from HELI to a brand new mentor training workshop available through our local NRMN-affiliated team. We already offer research mentor and mentee training to each new HELI cohort, but this special session represented a chance to provide a deeper exploration of the role culture plays in mentoring relationships. Participants and trainers alike gained a broader appreciation of how their personal identity intersects with  their professional life, particularly as mentors.

CCHE invited 15 HELI alumni and ten local trainees, faculty and administrators to participate in a Culturally Aware Mentoring (CAM) workshop. The training was led by longtime CCHE and HELI collaborators, Drs. Sandra Quinn and Stephen B. Thomas. In addition to their ongoing role as faculty in the annual HELI, Quinn and Thomas are Master Facilitators with NRMN.

A Master Facilitator is an experienced leader of mentor and mentee training, able to effectively adapt to diverse settings and audiences. The ICTR Mentoring group plays an active role in the national training of Master Facilitators as part of their effort to disseminate best practices in mentoring nationally using a train-the-trainer approach.

The CAM training was developed and tested by the CAM Working Group, which is part of the UW-Madison-based NRMN Mentor Training Core. The CAM team includes Rick McGee and Veronica Womack (Northwestern), Carrie Saetermoe (Cal State Northridge), Sandra Quinn and Stephen Thomas (University of Maryland) and Angela Byars-Winston, Emily Utzerath, and Amanda Butz from Wisconsin. Learn more about the CAM initiative via NRMNet.

If you are interested in mentor/mentee training or the CAM module, contact Amber Smith.

Next year’s Health Equity Leadership Institute will return to the full-length format on June 10-15, 2018. Applications will be released in late January 2018.

Read the Maryland feature on the October workshop.