National Research Mentoring Network Phase II

During the second phase of the Diversity Program Consortium (DPC) National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) initiative, researchers are continuing to develop mentoring and networking opportunities for biomedical researchers from diverse backgrounds, including those from underrepresented groups, from the undergraduate level through early career faculty. To broaden the number of innovative strategies explored and increase the likelihood of impact, sustainability, and dissemination, NRMN Phase II will be organized as a consortium of independent research projects, with a Coordinating Center and a Resource Center.

The NRMN Coordination Center (RFA-RM-003, PI: Christine E. Pfund, the University of Wisconsin-Madison) will play two main roles in NRMN Phase II. One of the Center’s responsibilities is to coordinate the early stages of data collection from the 11 NRMN Science of Mentoring interventions and provide feedback to on the data collected from the interventions to maximize the research benefit of activities. The Center’s second primary responsibility is promoting synergies between the NRMN consortium and the DPC’s Center for Coordination and Evaluation (CEC), for the long-term collection and storage of data.

The NRMN Resource Center (RFA-RM-18-002, PI: Jamboor K. Vishwanatha, the University of North Texas Health Science Center) provides a web-based mentoring tool to facilitate mentor-mentee engagement and networking. During Phase II, the Center will refine the existing MyNRMN Link to external web site​ application and other services offered through the NRMNet website Link to external web site​. This Center also oversees management of the NRMN website, reports on outputs from NRMN components and will create a platform for publicly available mentoring resources and tools.

There are 11 unique research projects that make up the Science of Mentoring, Networking, and Navigating Career Transition Points (RFA-RM-18-004) segment of NRMN Phase II. Using robust experimental designs, the projects are intended to expand the scientific scope of the NRMN initiative by exploring a variety of evidence-based mentoring and networking approaches to advance careers of individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those from underrepresented groups in the biomedical research workforce.

The 11 projects are based at institutions across the United States, and each will collect data as part of the Consortium-wide Evaluation Plan:

Boosting Mentor Effectiveness iN Training Of Research Scientists (MENTORS) Using Social Cognitive Career Theory to Support Entry of Women & Minorities into Physician-Scientist Careers.

  • PIs: Vineet Arora and Rachel Wolfson (m-PI), the University of Chicago
  • This intervention will use a randomized trial to test the effectiveness of virtual mentor training on women and minority medical student persistence in research careers during the required scholarly concentration programs at eight medical schools that participate in the Scholarly Concentrations Collaborative. The intervention aims to address the lack of gender and racial diversity in the physician scientist workforce.

Impact of Culturally Aware Mentoring Interventions on Research Mentors and Graduate Training Programs.

  • PI: Angela Byars-Winston, the University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • This intervention aims to train 600 faculty mentors in culturally aware mentoring practices to facilitate critical transitions from postdoc to junior faculty positions and will include research on outcomes for individual faculty mentors and departmental culture.

Building a Diverse Biomedical Workforce Through Communication Across Difference.

  • PI: Carrie A. Cameron, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • The program will test the effects of an intervention on communicating across various dimensions of difference in dyads of SURP and their PhD or postdoctoral junior mentors (summer supervisors). We will conduct novel communication workshops at 4 U54 cancer centers. The dyad partners will complete pre, post, and follow-up surveys and their long-term career outcomes will be followed for the duration of the funding period. The goal is to investigate whether improved 1-on-1 trust and comfort level in these relationships improve career commitment and performance for both dyad partners.

Studying Inclusive Mentor Networks to Diversify the Biomedical Workforce.

  • PIs: Mica Beth Estrada, the University of California, San Francisco; Paul Hernandez, University of Texas A&M; Nichole Broderick, University of Connecticut; Jo Handlesman, University of Wisconsin.
  • This is a scalable, social inclusion intervention that will be administered to hundreds of faculty and thousands of undergraduate students, as an add-on to the Tiny Earth program Link to external web site, to inform the field of mentorship science and enhance future mentorship programs that aim to broaden participation in the STEM fields. The study uses a theory-driven, longitudinal experimental design, to determine when, how, and for whom this social inclusion intervention improves faculty and student mentorship, professional networks, and integration into biomedical career pathways.

Peer group mentoring for racially underrepresented early career biomedical researchers: Identifying the unique influence of psychosocial support on personal gains and objective career outcomes.

  • PIs: Susan S. Girdler, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Friederike Jayes, Duke University
  • This study will examine the benefits of adding psychosocial, peer group assisted mentoring on topics including microaggressions and the imposter syndrome, to typical skills-based mentoring for underrepresented biomedical postdoctoral or junior faculty researchers.

Intersection of Social Capital, Mentorship and Networking on Persistence, Engagement and Science Identity.

  • PI: Manoj K. Mishra, Alabama State University
  • This study will focus on freshmen undergraduates at three historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the South. Using a random, controlled experimental design, the researchers will look at the persistence of underrepresented first-year students.

A Randomized Controlled Study to Test the Effectiveness of Development Network Coaching in the Career Advancement of Diverse Early Stage Investigators.

  • PI: Elizabeth O. Ofili, Morehouse School of Medicine
  • This randomized, controlled study will test a structured grant writing plus developmental network coaching intervention for early stage investigators, compared to grant writing coaching alone.

Enhanced Grant Writing Coaching Intervention for a Diverse Biomedical Workforce.

  • PI: Kolawole S. Okuyemi, the University of Utah
  • This intervention will build on the investigator’s previous NRMN-funded research Link to external web site​ and provide grant writing skills training to underrepresented junior investigators to enhance their productivity and independence, looking at coaching dosage and engagement.

Career Advancement and Culture Change in Biomedical Research: Group Peer Mentoring Outcomes and Mechanisms.

  • PI: Linda Pololi, Brandeis University
  • This group peer mentoring intervention will focus on professional development of mid-career faculty and look at the critical transition point from first-time funding to maintaining a funded research program.

Building Up.

  • PI: Doris M. Rubio, the University of Pittsburgh at Pittsburgh
  • This is an intervention that aims to build the psychological capital of underrepresented postdocs and junior faculty, and it includes the use of a near-peer model/ mentor for recruitment. The PIs hypothesize that the intervention will improve the Psychological Capital of underrepresented trainees by increasing their hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism. These skills have repeatedly been shown to impact attitudes and performance. The experiment will be conducted in a cluster randomized controlled trial to test the intervention with 26 academic institutions. Near-peer mentors at the treatment sites will receive career coaching and mentor training so that they can deliver the intervention more effectively. The PIs will follow participants for two years to study the impact of the intervention. They will also study the factors that contribute to the participants success by engaging in qualitative research using participant interviews. Finally, when the trial is concluded, the intervention will be disseminated to the waitlist controls as well as other institutions for a broad dissemination.

Effectiveness of Innovative Research Mentor Interventions among Underrepresented Minority Faculty in the Southwest.

  • PI: Akshay Sood, the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
  • There are two subprojects included in this intervention study that look at mentoring training approaches and inter-institutional mentoring support networks.

To read about NRMN Phase I, please see RFA-RM-13-017, and visit the NRMN Phase I webpage. For more information about the NRMN initiative, contact Dr. Mercedes Rubio.