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Acad Med ; 2022 Mar 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1735665


In addition to restrictions on conducting research, COVID-19-related travel bans and scientific meeting cancellations have negatively affected scholars in the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Mentored Career Development Award (KL2) program. In response, a national virtual visiting scholar program was developed to provide opportunity for KL2 scholars to be virtual visiting professors at another CTSA hub, meet faculty and scholars, and expand networks and build collaborations. This article describes the design and short-term outcomes of the virtual CTSA Visiting Scholar Program. In 2020, a working group designed core program elements and developed an application and selection process. Anonymized surveys were sent to scholars post-visit and to scholars and program directors 6 months post-visits to evaluate their experience and solicit suggestions for improvements. Between November 2020 and May 2021, 56 KL2 scholars and 27 hubs participated. Forty-five (80.4%) of participating scholars responded to the initial survey. Nearly all scholars (44, 97.7%) agreed their experience was valuable. All respondents indicated they would recommend the program to other KL2 scholars. For the 6-month survey, the response rate was 87.5% (49/56). Within 6 months of their visit, 36 (73.5%) respondents had contacted at least one person at the host hub and for 17 (34.7%) respondents, new collaborations with the host hub ensued. Twenty-five of 27 (92.6%) host hubs responded to the survey. Most (21, 84.0%) agreed that hearing visiting scholar talks was valuable to their own scholars and 23 (92%) indicated likelihood of their hub participating in future round of the program. The virtual Visiting Scholar Program provided KL2 scholars an opportunity to virtually visit another CTSA hub, present their research, and meet with faculty and other scholars to expand their networks. Although geared to KL2 scholars, this model is potentially generalizable to other nationally coordinated career development programs.

J Clin Transl Sci ; 5(1): e174, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1537230


Underrepresented minorities have higher attrition from the professoriate and have experienced greater negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this study was to compare the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of 196 early-career physician-scientists versus PhD researchers who are underrepresented in biomedical research. Participants in the Building Up study answered questions on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their personal and professional lives, and a mixed-methods approach was used to conduct the analysis. While most participants experienced increases in overall stress (72% of PhD researchers vs 76% of physician-scientists), physician-scientists reported that increased clinical demands, research delays, and the potential to expose family members to SARS-CoV-2 caused psychological distress, specifically. PhD researchers, more than physician-scientists, reported increased productivity (27% vs 9%), schedule flexibilities (49% vs 25%), and more quality time with friends and family (40% vs 24%). Future studies should consider assessing the effectiveness of programs addressing COVID-19-related challenges experienced by PhD researchers and physician-scientists, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds.

J Clin Transl Sci ; 5(1): e185, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1510524


The Building Up Trial is a cluster-randomized trial that aims to address the issue of the leaky career pathway for underrepresented (UR) faculty in biomedical fields. Regulatory approval and recruitment for the Building Up Trial took place during the COVID-19 pandemic and the anti-racism movement. The pandemic and anti-racism movement personally and professionally impacted the target population and made recruitment challenging at both the institution and participant level. The target sample size for this study was 208 postdoctoral fellows or early-career faculty across 26 predominately white institutions. Challenges and adaptations are described. The Building Up Trial was delayed by 3 months. In total, 225 participants from 26 institutions were enrolled. Participants are predominately female (80%), Hispanic/Latinx (34%) or non-Hispanic/Latinx Black (33%), and early-career faculty (53%). At the institution level, obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval through a single Institutional Review Board (sIRB) posed the biggest challenge. We adapted to COVID-19-related challenges through simplifying sIRB forms, modifying study practices, and increasing communication with institutions. Recruiting UR postdoctoral fellows and faculty during the COVID-19 pandemic and anti-racism movement was challenging but not impossible. Studies should be prepared to modify study and recruitment policies to overcome additional barriers posed by the pandemics.

J Clin Transl Sci ; 5(1): e130, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1320199


INTRODUCTION: Human-centered design (HCD) training offers the potential to improve both team processes and products. However, the use of HCD to improve the quality of team science is a relatively recent application, and its benefits and challenges have not been rigorously evaluated. We conducted a qualitative study with health sciences researchers trained in HCD methods. We aimed to determine how researchers applied HCD methods and perceived the benefits and barriers to using HCD on research teams. METHODS: We conducted 1-hour, semi-structured interviews with trainees from three training cohorts. Interviews focused on perceptions of the training, subsequent uses of HCD, barriers and facilitators, and perceptions of the utility of HCD to science teams. Data analysis was conducted using Braun and Clarke's process for thematic analysis. RESULTS: We interviewed nine faculty and nine staff trained in HCD methods and identified four themes encompassing HCD use, benefits, challenges, and tensions between HCD approaches and academic culture. CONCLUSIONS: Trainees found HCD relevant to research teams for stakeholder engagement, research design, project planning, meeting facilitation, and team management. They also described benefits of HCD in five distinct areas: creativity, egalitarianism, structure, efficiency, and visibility. Our data suggest that HCD has the potential to help researchers work more inclusively and collaboratively on interdisciplinary teams and generate more innovative and impactful science. The application of HCD methods is not without challenges; however, we believe these challenges can be overcome with institutional investment.

Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(11)2021 06 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1266741


Mentoring continues to be a salient conversation in academia among junior and senior faculty and administrators. Mentors provide guidance and structure to junior faculty so that they can meet their academic and professional goals. Mentors also convey skills in balancing life and academic pursuits. Therefore, the purpose of this descriptive study was to provide additional insight from a training program called Leading Emerging and Diverse Scientists to Success (LEADS) regarding successful strategies and challenges of mentoring relating to lessons learned from the scholars and mentees' perspective. The LEADS program provided multiple training platforms to increase skills and knowledge regarding research to promote expertise in grant writing and submission for funding opportunities among diverse scientists. These findings reinforce the knowledge about the value of a mentor in helping define the research pathway of their mentee and underscoring the importance of mentoring.

Mentoring , Physicians , Faculty , Humans , Mentors , Program Evaluation
J Clin Transl Sci ; 4(6): 556-561, 2020 Jun 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-620160


Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) TL1 trainees and KL2 scholars were surveyed to determine the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on training and career development. The most negative impact was lack of access to research facilities, clinics, and human subjects, plus for KL2 scholars lack of access to team members and need for homeschooling. TL1 trainees reported having more time to think and write. Common strategies to maintain research productivity involved time management, virtual connections with colleagues, and shifting to research activities not requiring laboratory/clinic settings. Strategies for mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on training and career development are described.