UW-Madison Team Receives $2.2 Million through National Research Mentoring Network2

The ICTR Mentoring Team: (l to r) Christine Pfund, Stephanie House, Kimberley Spencer, Christine Sorkness, Pam Asquith.
ICTR Mentoring Team: (l to r) Chris Pfund, Stephanie House, Kim Spencer, Chris Sorkness, & Pam Asquith.

On October 22, 2014, NIH announced the award of $2.2 million to UW-Madison to serve as the national hub for research mentor and mentee training within the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN). NRMN is part of a broader Diversity Program Consortium announced at the same time.

The total nationwide award to develop and support NRMN is $19 million for five years. Leaders of the Mentor Training Core include the ICTR mentoring group, and additional experts from UW and other institutions.

The five leaders of the NRMN consortium will work together and also partner with over 30 professional scientific societies and numerous colleges and universities, including 20 historically Black colleges and universities, a consortia of Hispanic-serving institutions, organizations supporting tribal colleges, numerous minority-serving organizations, and NIH-funded centers.

WCER portraits May 18, 2016.
Christine Pfund, PhD

Christine Pfund, PhD, UW site PI and director of the NRMN Mentor Training Core, remarks, “NRMN will be a nationwide consortium to enhance the training and career development of individuals from diverse backgrounds, communities, and cultures who are pursuing biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social science research careers through enhanced networking and mentorship experiences.”

Christine Sorkness, PharmD

“We are very proud to be part of this NIH-led effort to diversify the biomedical workforce. A primary goal of NRMN is to address the disparities in the full participation in biomedical research by underrepresented minorities, and we already have evidence that the research mentor training developed at UW can make a difference,” adds Christine Sorkness, PharmD, UW site co-investigator and ICTR senior associate executive director.

Mentoring research at UW ICTR

With the establishment of the UW ICTR in 2007, the ICTR Research Education and Career Development (REC) core joined a vibrant local community at UW-Madison dedicated to developing, evaluating, and disseminating evidence-based curricula to train research mentors and mentees in establishing effective mentoring relationships. Effective mentoring is a cornerstone of career development for scholars in many fields, including clinical and translational researchers.

The ICTR REC core focused on tailoring existing curriculum to be more specific for training and evaluating mentors for biomedical researchers. In addition to support from the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) that supports ICTR, the ICTR research mentoring group successfully competed for NIH supplements to support their investigations into best practices for mentoring clinical and translational researchers at CTSA sites.

In collaboration with 15 other CTSA sites, between 2009 -2011, the ICTR-led team adapted the Entering Mentoring curriculum developed earlier on campus for training research mentors of clinical and translational researchers. This adapted curriculum was tested via a randomized control trial. This trial established a positive effect on both mentors and mentees and led to publication of a training manual and peer-reviewed manuscripts describing the findings.

Mentoring web site allows national access to specialized mentor training materials

One of the NIH supplements established a web-based legacy resource for mentoring development. This ICTR-hosted web site provides open access to curricula, assessment tools, and resources relevant for mentors and mentees, as well as for those who would like to implement mentor training.

In addition to disseminating Mentor Training for Clinical and Translational Researchers, the web site allows trainers to customize the training curricula within three subcategories: (1) biomedical research, (2) clinical and behavioral research, and (3) community engaged research. It also makes available a validated Mentoring Competency Assessment tool for evaluation. There is no charge for these curricula and tools.

National dissemination of mentor training

Now, with NRMN, the ICTR team is working with colleagues from across campus to take their expertise to the national stage. Earlier this year, an ICTR-led group received a six month P20 planning grant from NIH to support the efforts of a multi-institutional team to prepare a grant application to establish the NRMN. The UW group joined forces with three other P20 awardees to develop a comprehensive grant proposal for NRMN, which was awarded in September 2014.













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Members of the NRMN Mentor Training Core Leadership Team


Christine Pfund, PhD, Director, PI
UW SMPH Department of Medicine, UW ICTR, Wisconsin Center for Education Research

Janet Branchaw, PhD, Assoc Director, Co-I
UW School of Education Department of Kinesiology, director of  WISCIENCE

Angela Byars Winston, PhD, Co-I
UW SMPH Department of Medicine

Christine Sorkness, PharmD, Co-I
UW School of Pharmacy and UW ICTR senior associate executive director

Other Institutions

Stephen Thomas, PhD, Associate Director, Co-I
University of Maryland

Richard McGee, PhD, Co-I
Northwestern University

Sandra Quinn, PhD, Co-I
University of Maryland

Anne Marie Weber-Main, PhD, Co-I
University of Minnesota

Who are the NRMN Partners?

Administrative Core

Boston College, David Burgess, PhD; lead PI
Morehouse School of Medicine
Elizabeth Olifi, MD, MPH; PI

Mentor Training Core

UW-Madison, Christine Pfund, PhD; PI

Mentorship & Networking Core

University of North Texas Health Sciences Center, Jamboor Vishwanatha, PhD; PI

Professional Development

University of Minnesota
Kola Okuyemi, MD, MPH; PI

Existing Mentoring Research at UW-Madison

Delta Program in Research, Teaching and Learning (Delta)

Wisconsin Program for Scientific Teaching (WPST)

Wisconsin Institute for Science Education and Community Engagement (WISCIENCE)

Center for Women’s Health Research

This work has been supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health.

An overview is available on the ICTR Research Mentoring web site .