Megan H. Bair-Merritt, MD, MSCE, professor of pediatrics, and Tuhina Neogi, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and epidemiology, have been awarded a two-year, $550,000 grant funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation through the COVID-19 Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists collaborative. This award was made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
The COVID-19 Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists provides grants for U.S. medical schools that are evolving to strengthen policies, practices, and processes to support the research productivity and retention of early-career faculty with family caregiving responsibilities. “Caregiving challenges were magnified during the pandemic but will continue to fuel inequities for the foreseeable future,” says Bair-Merritt. “This grant will provide further momentum in our efforts to implement sustainable efforts that prioritize diversity and normalize caregiving, allowing us to more effectively retain and promote exceptional early-career researchers.”
With this support, Bair-Merritt and Neogi will launch CARE (Creating and Advancing Research Equity) across BUSM. Housed within Boston University’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the program aims to support, advance, and retain diverse early-career physician scientists who are conducting transformational health research and balancing productivity and caregiving responsibilities by providing career development programs and mentorship necessary to ensure success. The program will contribute to a university-wide culture that normalizes caregiving and prioritizes gender and racial equity.
With additional support provided by departmental leadership, supplemental funding will be available for up to 17 early-career BUSM and BMC investigators conducting clinical research projects. These funds may be used to support research staff such as technicians or coordinators, grant-writing, or to reduce clinical commitment to allow more time for research. In addition to receiving funding, recipients will participate in monthly peer networking meetings, coaching sessions and appropriate CTSI and the Office of Faculty Development career development programs. The BU-CTSI will also provide $5,000 vouchers to each awardee to fund additional research-related resources including staff and supplies.
The culmination of these resources will significantly improve support available to early-career BUSM and BMC investigators with caregiving responsibilities. “CARE Across BUSM strongly aligns with our institutional objectives and efforts to conduct transformational science and to support caregiving and to enhance diversity and equity,” says BUMC Provost and BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD. “This grant will complement our current and enduring commitments.”