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 Pipeline for the Biomedical Research Workforce. 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.