Curriculum or Training Activities to Enhance Wellness and Resiliency in the Training Environment


Listed below are the details of the projects funded under NOT-GM-21-022:


Listed below are the details of the projects funded under NOT-GM-22-015:


Title: UC Denver MARC U*STAR Scholars Program Supplement
Principal Investigator(s):
Allen, Richard M (Contact); Flores, Sonia Castro, University of Colorado Denver
As the United States becomes more diverse, it is imperative that institutions of higher education accelerate their efforts to ensure equity in the number of doctoral degrees awarded to students who are members of underrepresented (UR) groups. The CU Denver MARC program complements and extends other training programs at CU Denver and Anschutz, expanding an institutional culture that supports the success of UR students and their entrance into doctoral programs in the biomedical sciences. One unique aspect of the CU Denver MARC U-STAR program is a partnership with the CU Denver Clinical Health Psychology (CHP) program. Through this partnership, we have retained an advanced CHP doctoral student to serve as a wellness point-person for our scholars. This doctoral level student addresses threats to wellness and resiliency on multiple levels using preventative, in- vivo, and follow-up communication aimed at detecting scholar distress and building adaptive copings skills to mitigate distress for our scholars. This supplement aims to adapt this evidence-based program to be more culturally-responsive through a formative needs assessment (barriers impacting scholars, supports needed, self-advocacy skill development) and integration of new learning with the wellness and resiliency program. Culturally-responsive wellness and resiliency training can provide minoritized scholars with knowledge and skills necessary to successfully navigate academic adversity and discrimination with self-advocacy and resilience. These efforts, together with outstanding academic and research training and a culture of support for diversity and inclusion, will help the CU Denver MARC U-STAR program continue to meet the overarching MARC program goal that at least 90% of supported students graduate with a STEM degree and at least 60% matriculate into Ph.D. (or combined M.D./Ph.D.) programs in the biomedical sciences with a doctoral completion rate of at least 80%.

Title: Promoting wellness and resiliency
Principal Investigator:
 Atkins, Catherine J, San Diego State University
This administrative supplement proposal will allow us to add an important new mental health and resiliency initiative that will serve our MARC and IMSD undergraduate students as well as any undergraduates planning to obtain an advanced degree and our current graduate students. Our initiative, which will be fully integrated into our MARC/IMSD curriculum, seeks to equip students with mental health resources produced in part by current SDSU graduate students to destigmatize the need for mental health support. Students will attend workshops by experts on the specific mental health challenges of graduate students and on tools for resiliency, and by former MARC and IMSD students who have completed their graduate work. Survey data from MARC, IMSD, and current graduate students will guide the generation of short videos on mental health and resiliency created by and starring SDSU graduate students under the careful direction of SDSU campus leaders in the areas of Clinical Psychology, Counseling and Psychological Services, and Student Success/Advancement.

Title: IPREP Supplemental: Physical Activity, Mental Health, and Resiliency
Principal Investigator(s):
 Bahamonde, Rafael (Contact); Blum, Janice S; Keith, Nicole Ruth, Indiana Univ-Purdue Univ at Indianapolis
The IUPUI Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (IPREP) provides academic enhancement and extensive research experiences to prepare talented college graduates from diverse backgrounds for success in rigorous Ph.D. and MD./Ph.D. programs in biomedical and behavioral research. IPREP trainees from underrepresented minority groups at predominantly white institutions may face marginalizing experiences such as discrimination that may lead to both mental health problems and poor academic performance. Research demonstrates that engaging trainees in extracurricular activities, such as physical activity participation, is a best practice. Physical activity (PA) has been shown to improve assertiveness, confidence, memory, attention, depression, anxiety, resiliency, and work errors. A key barrier to PA participation is a lack of understanding of how to participate in PA while navigating obstacles such as cost, time, transportation, and lack of social support. The goal of the proposed project is to provide a guided program in PA education that serves as a life-long tool to promote IPREP trainee well-being, resiliency, and persistence in challenging careers focused on biomedical and behavioral research. Trainees will complete a baseline mental health assessment, exercise self-efficacy scale, and assessment of resilience. Additionally, their cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength and endurance, and body composition will be measured. All trainees will be given a Fitbit, and their activity and sleep will be monitored via Fitabase. We will use the ACSM Exercise is Medicine® evidence-based curriculum for self- paced, didactic education over an eight-week period. After eight weeks, IPREP trainees will be assigned to an Exercise Science student who is experienced in PA programming and health coaching and will serve as the IPREP trainee’s personal trainer. IPREP trainees will select from a variety of exercise programs, sports, or other self-identified physical activities that the personal trainer will support. We will re-evaluate the baseline measures at weeks 8, 16, 32, and 64. The evaluators will collect, analyze, and report data to assist the leadership team in deciding which elements of the intervention should be institutionalized and incorporated into the IPREP and other training programs. Clinically meaningful levels of depressive symptoms (i.e. PHQ score > 10) will be reported to the trainee and referral to their healthcare provider for further evaluation and treatment. Research results will be presented at relevant professional meetings and submitted for peer-reviewed publication as an education research manuscript and a program guide shared nationally for implementation in PREP and graduate training programs.

Title: Administrative Supplements for Curriculum or Training Activities to Enhance Wellness and Resiliency in the Training Environment
Principal Investigator:
Chin, Michael T, Tufts University Boston
The MD-PhD Program at Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences is designed to train physician-scientists. Physician-scientist training is uniquely challenging in that it requires mastery of two distinct disciplines, both of which continue to increase in complexity. The need to master two professions, prolonged training, uncertainty in career path choices, high expectations and the added demands of personal life place enormous stress upon MD-PhD trainees, and likely influence career outcome. The superimposed demands of the COVID-19 pandemic provide even greater stress upon dual degree trainees. An informal poll of our current Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) trainees has identified several sources of stress specific to the training program, such as a feeling of time pressure for completing the PhD degree, loss of social networks when initial medical school classmates graduate during the trainee PhD years, stress associated with choosing a thesis mentor without extensive opportunities to rotate and the anxiety of forgetting medical knowledge during the PhD training. Others have described the challenges of balancing work and family responsibilities. Recent political events and growing awareness of structural racism as a determinant of health have also been a source of stress for some trainees in our program. This proposal will provide activities specialized for MSTP trainees to address directly the unique stresses of their dual degree training program and will synergize with University-wide efforts to promote mindfulness and resilience across multiple training programs. First, we propose to measure the level of burnout and stress in our MSTP trainees, identify potential causes of stress, examine utilization of existing resiliency training resources and implement organizational changes that promote resiliency. To promote trainee resilience, we will provide a series of resiliency training activities composed of an established National Institutes of Health Office of Intramural Training and Education (NIH OITE) resiliency program, invited speakers to discuss stress and resiliency in MSTP training, alumni panels to discuss strategies for dealing with career stressors and a one day retreat for team building, wellness and fostering resiliency skills. After the completion of these activities, we will survey our trainees to assess the efficacy of these programs. Finally, we will use these data to establish a Wellness and Resiliency Center to institutionalize the valuable programs and make this sustainable via the Tufts Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) and a new philanthropic fund for wellness and resilience.

Title: Comprehensive Anesthesia Research Training
Principal Investigator:
Hellman, Judith, University of California, San Francisco
The goal of our T32 training grant program, Comprehensive Anesthesia Research Training, is to provide in-depth research training to anesthesiologists and allied scientists who are committed to pursuing basic, translational and/or clinical research on topics in anesthesiology, critical care medicine, pain medicine and the perioperative sciences. There is a need to develop a wellness curriculum for trainees in our program, as physician-scientists face unique challenges navigating the research training pathway, including balancing large research commitments with high intensity clinical work and expectations to participate in mentoring, education, and service. This Administrative Supplement will be used to develop a wellness curriculum that will provide formalized mechanisms for trainee peer support and community building, expanded trainee career mentorship, and opportunities for trainees and faculty mentors to learn about well- being concepts, research, and resources. The specific training activities include: (1) a Wellness and Resilience Support Group of current and past trainees and junior research faculty who will participate in wellness workshops and community building activities, (2) expanded career development mentorship and planning to address unique issues encountered by physician-scientists in training (e.g., effectively balancing clinical work and research), (3) an Annual Wellness Research seminar and opportunities for trainees to interact with the Visiting Professor, and (4) the development of a map of well-being resources within the department, at UCSF, and externally (e.g., through OITE) that are available to research trainees and faculty mentors. We anticipate that the activities and resources will be initiated and implemented using this Administrative Supplement, and then will be sustained in the T32 program and the larger departmental Pathway to Scientific Independence research training program. The effectiveness of the wellness program will be assessed using (1) surveys of trainees at the beginning and end of the year of supplemental support, and over the following 3 years, focused on parameters of wellness and research success (publication rates and extramural funding), (2) trainee attendance at wellness-oriented workshops and community building activities, (3) trainee and faculty attendance at wellness seminars, and (4) trainee evaluations of the program activities. The outcomes will be disseminated to the Department of Anesthesia through the Anesthesia Research Newsletter and externally through publications on the effectiveness of the program in peer-reviewed journals. The T32 Executive Committee and Department Chair will also participate in the dissemination of outcomes through institutional, local, and national presentations. This new wellness curriculum program will equip anesthesiologist research trainees with the knowledge and support to navigate a challenging research training pathway and will enhance their ability to develop into successful biomedical researchers.

Title: Supplement to NIH T32 on wellness and resilience
Principal Investigator(s):
Henry, Clarissa A (Contact); Liaw, Lucy, University of Maine Orono
The current T32 award supports an innovative, evidence-based training program that includes a co-mentorship framework and transdisciplinary research opportunities. This proposed supplement will endeavor to increase the resilience and wellness of our graduate students with particular focus on: (1) a multi-tiered strategy designed to enhance mentoring, wellness, and resilience, and (2) long-term sustainability and integration. In this supplement, we propose to augment our current efforts by implementing a series of activities within a three-tiered public health model with the first tier focused on prevention, the second tier focused on direct support, and the third tier focused on professional interventions. We do this by leveraging primary campus collaborators in the Graduate School and Counseling Center with support from faculty experts on curriculum development and evaluation as well as the Psychological Services Center. In the first tier of prevention, we propose (1) hosting the “Becoming a Resilient Scientist” workshop and extending it with professional development modules from the UMaine Graduate School’s GRAD Initiative, (2) starting “Career Communities” featuring working alumni of the program that will include in-person workshops, (3) offering wellness-oriented student clubs in line with the UMaine Graduate Student Government requirements, (4) expanding our Annual Meeting with a wellness and community-building day, and (5) running a “Resilient Researcher” retreat in conjunction with the Counseling Center. In the second tier of direct support, we propose (1) starting a formal Peer Advising program that supports younger graduate students who will be advised by senior graduate students and (2) conducting regular individual check-ins with all PhD students. In the third tier of professional interventions, we are partnering with the UMaine Counseling Center and UMaine Psychological Services Center to educate students, faculty mentors, and staff on resources to increase access to and reduce stigma about mental health resources. The proposed enhancements to wellness and resiliency will focus on substantially improving and integrating the new efforts into the curriculum and co-curricular requirements of the GSBSE PhD programs with a major emphasis on assessment and sustainability.

Title: Medical Scientist Training Program
Principal Investigator:
Kazmierczak, Barbara I, Yale University
Scientific research is a shared experience between faculty and trainees, where the resilience and well-being of both parties is essential for optimal learning, thriving and success. Training on the responsible conduct of research for students, as well as on professionalism and mandated mentor training for faculty who participate in our NIGMS-funded training grants are cornerstones for productive and successful laboratories, and yet the infrastructure to promote the resilience of students and faculty is lacking. Evidence-informed practices to cultivate well-being and a workplace culture of wellness are imperative in our mission to train emotionally intelligent and visionary leaders in biomedical research. By leveraging the training, curricular resources and insights gained through our current participation in the NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education Resilience Training Program (OITE RTP), we propose to create Resilience at Yale — “R@Y”— a data-driven, scalable and sustainable infrastructure for resilience training and wellness activities at the Yale School of Medicine (YSM). Robust curricula obtained through the “Becoming a Resilient Scientist” series created by Dr. Sharon Milgram, Director of the NIH OITE, obviates the need to develop unique content. Instead, we propose to apply administrative supplemental funds toward two major goals: first, we aim to measure the resilience and ascertain the needs of MD-PhD students, PhD students and faculty participating in NIGMS-funded T32 training grants at YSM who are working in a biomedical research environment. While many studies of medical, nursing and even dental student resilience working in an academic or clinical context have been published, the challenges unique to a laboratory setting and graduate education (where training duration such as for MD-PhD students averages 7-8 years) have not been explored. We will develop a survey instrument using the Connor- Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC) and questions related to demographics, work- and leisure-related activities and wellness resources to investigate the current levels of resilience and well-being of the biomedical research workforce at YSM. Data from this study will inform the second aim to create a strong infrastructure to implement existing OITE RTP curriculum and training activities (webinars, small group discussions, peer ambassador training) and sustain future efforts to promote biomedical researcher resilience and well-being. To do so, supplemental funds will partially support the salaries of mental health professionals originally intended to support medical students. The scope of the YSM Wellness staff responsibilities will be expanded to include graduate students and faculty working in a research laboratory setting. In this pilot year of R@Y, we will focus on providing resilience training to faculty and students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities and from socially, culturally, economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. If successful, we will provide data and “proof of concept” that R@Y has far-reaching impact beyond improving student and faculty resilience toward changing the culture of academic research.

Title: Chemistry of Life Processes Predoctoral Training Program
Principal Investigator:
Kelleher, Neil L, Northwestern University
There is increasing evidence of a mental health crisis in graduate education. This proposal requests supplemental funding for the Chemistry of Life Processes Predoctoral Training Program, which supports interdisciplinary training for students from life sciences, chemistry, and engineering graduate programs to create a sustainable training environment that develops trainee competence and practice of evidence-based skills, attitudes, and behaviors that foster well-being and resilience. We will deploy four strategies to achieve this goal: (1) Development of a new program of well-being and resilience training and activities for NIGMS trainees and mentors; (2) Assessment of the efficacy of proposed well-being and resilience training on trainees and mentors; (3) Incorporation of wellness and resilience training into existing biomedical training programs at Northwestern University; and (4) Dissemination of program results and activities to the broader training community. The foundation of our approach is to integrate wellness and resilience practices into the fabric of training and mentoring by (a) surveying trainees to determine the current state of their mental health, well-being and resilience, knowledge of best practices, implementation of wellness and resilience practices, and their needs and interests in tools, activities, and training to improve wellness and resilience; (b) using supplement funding to “train-the-trainers” in how to teach resilience skills to students and faculty; (c) providing free evidence-based skills training through monthly interactive workshops for trainees and mentors; (d) training, supporting and encouraging adoption of self-care planning as an essential tool for proactively addressing individual well-being and resilience; (e) facilitating development of peer support groups; and (f) broadening incorporation of wellness activities into ongoing training activities using online wellness resources available through the NIH OITE and Postdoc Academy. A leadership team, consisting of the directors of the four NIGMS-funded T32 predoctoral training programs at Northwestern, along with personnel in The Graduate School, the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching, and the Office for Research, will be responsible for implementation of these strategies, which will be continuously improved via a combination of formative and summative evaluations. The proposed new training practices and activities will have a broad impact, including not only the 167 trainees and 114 preceptors in the participating NIGMS training programs, but also through dissemination to the entire biomedical training community at Northwestern. These programs and activities will be integrated into existing training activities and be sustained through the administrative resources of The Graduate School and the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute.

Title: Nurturing Wellness for Graduate Student Resilience and Success
Principal Investigator:
Kuhn, Cynthia M, Duke University
The purpose of the present supplement is to develop a Wellness Program for Duke Pharmacological Sciences Training Program (PSTP) that helps all students develop personal strategies to maintain wellness, reduce stress and succeed in Graduate School. We will: (1) develop introductory and “booster” wellness programming for graduate students in the PSTP, (2) evaluate efficacy, then broaden participation to include all students in Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, and (3) disseminate through the School of Medicine’s Office of Biomedical Graduate Education (OBGE) to all biomedical graduate students. We will deliver this program when students matriculate to help them develop the tools early on to manage stress and maintain wellness as they progress through graduate school. We are already planning a future version that will include students in upper years. This program is designed to complement rather than be redundant with the other professional development activities offered by the PSTP and OBGE. The theoretical underpinning for the project will be based on a model developed by Mr. Thomas Szigethy, the Associate Dean of Students and Director of Duke’s DuWell Office (Health Promotion) that is comprised of three elements: (1) Risk management to teach students how to identify and moderate potentially risky behaviors, (2) Taking care of well-being, and (3) Reinforce the lessons by giving back to the community, which strengthens and disseminates the lessons learned and builds community. This program should help students achieve their individual goals and build social support to contribute to their resilience. The key elements of programming will be a series of Wellness Workshops which culminate in a community-building student outreach project developed by the students. Follow-up activities will encourage continued practice of the skills that students learned and to assess efficacy. The final element of the proposed program is to provide both staff and peer training for continuing and disseminating this training. By providing these new skills, the PSTP will increase the likelihood of achieving its primary goal, which is for students to successfully complete graduate training and enter a career related to Pharmacology.

Title: Enhancing Wellness and Resilience for Biomedical Research Training at UND
Principal Investigator:
 Lindseth, Glenda N, University of North Dakota
The goal of this supplemental funding request is to develop training sessions and modules to enhance the wellness and resilience of MARC U-STAR trainees at the University of North Dakota (UND). Curricula and training sessions will be designed to help the students acquire stress management skills that demonstrate improved resilience and reduced anxiety. The sessions are planned to help the trainees adapt to adversity or when they are experiencing anxiety, stress or other challenges. We will build resilience and wellness by focusing on self-care skills. Training sessions will be based upon Birds’ (2020) curriculum to teach resilience with wellness coaching led by our behavioral research team to reduce anxiety and depression. The sessions will enable students to develop a plan to sustain wellness beyond the specific training sessions. Evaluation results obtained from the trainees will be summarized so recommendations for improvement of the training modules and curricular materials can be made. The overall impact of this work will be based upon positive evaluations of improved resilience and decreased anxiety or depression levels of UND students.

Title: Supplement to Enhance Wellness and Resiliency in the Graduate Environment
Principal Investigator:
Morrison, Ashby J, Stanford University
Objectives of the pre-doctoral Cellular and Molecular Biology training program at Stanford University are to attract an excellent and diverse cohort of trainees and to develop their skills in scientific thinking, rigorous and reproducible data management, effective science communication and the ethical and responsible conduct of research. We are requesting an administrative supplement to develop a “Becoming a Resilient Scientist” course offered to pre-doctoral students as a one-unit BIO 315 elective. The goals of this course are the following: instruct on the key elements of resilience in research environments; explore cognitive distortions and imposter fears; build emotional intelligence; promote effective assertiveness; develop feedback resilience; maximize mentoring relationships; promote self-compassion; and build habits that promote healthy emotions and resilient behaviors. We expect this course to prevent and/or alleviate anxiety, stress, and depression in graduate trainees immersed in competitive and challenging research environments. Not only is it expected that this will improve well-being of trainees in the short term, but also in the long term, as students engaged in the course can utilize learned material and techniques throughout their research careers. Ultimately, this should increase engagement in research and prevent attrition due to anxiety and depression. Overall, the supplement will complement other training experiences described in the parent T32 award to build resilient, creative, and productive scientific leaders.

Title: A Comprehensive approach to cultivating student mental well-being and resilience through meditation, community, and leadership
Principal Investigator(s):
 Murray, Andrew W (Contact); Mitchison, Timothy J, Harvard University
The mental health of college students has steadily declined over the last decade, with increased prevalence of depression and rates of suicide. University counseling centers are struggling to serve a growing demand. Students need a broader set of tools and community to support their well-being. This proposal requests additional support to implement a multi-faceted meditation program that cultivates wellness, resilience and leadership among Harvard graduate students in the biomedical sciences. The SKY Campus Happiness program teaches students tools to cultivate wellbeing and resilience, create positive-minded community, and nurture empathetic leadership. The SKY Campus Happiness program is a psychosocial, three component curriculum that incorporates evidence-based breathing techniques, meditation, belongingness and leadership. The SKY Program’s cornerstone practice is an evidence-based, rhythmic breathing meditation called Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY). We will collaborate with the Chemical Biology Ph.D. program and Molecules, Cells, and Organisms Ph.D. program on pilot programming, which will be available to their students as well as others in the Harvard Integrated Life Sciences Consortium (HILS). The full curriculum will consist of 3 components: a weekend workshop where students learn the SKY technique, a Silent Retreat, and a Leadership Training. Assessment of the program will be done by pre- and post- surveys that will be designed in partnership with Harvard University Health Services and the Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. This supplement will be used to support the implementation of SKY Campus Happiness programming on Harvard’s campus and ongoing activities to support the student community. The SKY Campus Happiness Program will broaden the tools available to support mental well-being and resilience at Harvard to better prepare students for competitive careers in a variety of settings.

Title: Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine Research Training
Principal Investigator:
Palermo, Tonya M, University of Washington
Anesthesiologists have a high risk for burnout, and stress levels are particularly elevated during training. Over the past year, burnout was significantly amplified due to additional stress of very high-risk exposures as part of the care of COVID-19 patients in the operating room and in the intensive care units, as well as due to significant research interruptions. This is of serious concern in our anesthesiology postdoctoral research training program at University of Washington (UW) and may be addressed through targeted efforts. Several wellness and resilience resources have been developed at UW for the workforce; however, none are targeted for postdoctoral trainees. Our overall objective is to develop and sustain a model to deliver a resilience program and curriculum to promote postdoctoral trainee well-being. To accomplish this objective, we will 1) tailor and implement the Promoting Resilience in Stress Management (PRISM) group-based program for postdoctoral trainees, 2) develop web-based resources and didactic sessions in our curriculum, and 3) modify our Individual Training and Development (IDP) Plan and provide mentor guidance for supporting trainee wellness and resilience. The program is supported by a digital smartphone app for participants’ practice and tracking of skills learned. Program outcome data from the PRISM program delivered to 119 healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic show that the program has been successful in increasing resilience, while decreasing stress, anxiety, and burnout. In order to implement and sustain the PRISM program as part of a wellness and resilience curriculum for our T32 postdoctoral training program and for other postdoctoral training programs at UW, we will develop a Training of Trainers model to engage master trainers in coaching new trainers, in this case, postdoctoral trainees and faculty mentors. We will adapt our Individual Training and Development Plan (IDP) to incorporate both work and life factors into goal setting and provide guidance to mentors on the IDP to discuss ways in which balance can be attained on an individual basis. Program evaluation of the PRISM Postdoc program includes conducting 4 virtual 6-session groups of 10 trainees/faculty mentors (n = 40) over an 8-month period and measuring burnout in all workshop participants from pre- to post-participation. We will also collect trainee and faculty mentor experiences in using the modified IDP and resource guide using open-ended questions about the value and effectiveness. In our own T32 training program, we will encourage trainees to participate in PRISM and to become a trainer, which will be supported by didactic sessions on resilience and wellness as part of our T32 monthly didactics. We will incorporate the new activities into the larger UW biomedical training environment through multiple partnerships to reach postdoctoral trainees, and to sustain the program through our Training of Trainers model.

Title: Interdisciplinary Anesthesiology Research Training Program
Principal Investigator(s):
Patel, Hemal H (Contact); Roth, David M, University of California, San Diego
This T32 supplement is designed to address a need to enhance wellness and resiliency in early physician-scientist trainees/faculty. Physician burnout is described as physical and mental exhaustion and is prevalent, involving more than 50% of physicians and trainees. Growing evidence suggests that the underpinnings of a lifestyle prone to dysfunctional wellness and resilience may start as early as medical school. As such, our T32 supplement involves two NIGMS-funded T32 programs at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The first program in the Department of Anesthesiology is designed to create and train physician-scientists. The second program is a cohort of students in the Medical Scientist Training Program and includes junior faculty that are graduates of the UCSD-MSTP program. We will explore wellness and resilience in individuals from both T32 training programs. Current efforts at UCSD address physician wellness/resilience, given the great need and the statistics cited above. We will learn from these efforts and add to them via this supplement targeted to physician-scientist trainees. We will introduce new elements of wearable technology, app based monitoring to stress, and brain electrical activity measurements to add complementary scalable approaches to identify and manage risk in loss of wellbeing. Our work will synergize wellness and resiliency efforts by applying them to a new, important cohort of trainees currently not being directly addressed at UCSD.

Title: Mentored Experiences in Research, Instruction and Teaching (MERIT) Program - administrative supplement
Principal Investigator:
 Schwiebert, Lisa M, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Funded since 2009, the primary goal of the UAB IRACDA - Mentored Experiences in Research, Instruction, and Teaching (MERIT) Program is to provide postdoctoral scholars with outstanding research and teaching experiences while improving the recruitment of underrepresented groups into the field of biomedical and behavioral research. Trainees at UAB have access to a diverse array of resources and programming, including tuition-bearing courses, online simulation platforms and trainee-led panel discussions, that address mental health and wellness-related topics. However, none of these resources fully address the specific mental health challenges and needs of trainees engaged in biomedical research. To address the need for resiliency training, MERIT Scholars will construct and assess the BioMed-Resiliency (BMR) Curriculum. The central objective of the BMR Curriculum is to improve the learner’s resiliency attitudes and skills, specifically in the context of conducting biomedical research. It will include a set of six online interactive modules, each with related activity exercises and a facilitator guide, that will utilize metacognitive approaches toward increased understanding and development of resiliency. It will be geared toward trainees in the biomedical-related sciences, including doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows at UAB as well as STEM undergraduates and post-baccalaureates at UAB and at IRACDA-MERIT Partner Institutions. To this end, the BMR Curriculum will incorporate research- and STEM-based topics in activity exercises to enhance the applicability and relevance of the content for learners.

Principal Investigator:
 Skeath, James Benjamin, Washington University
Through intentional programming and community based outreach efforts to under-served communities, this supplement seeks to promote student wellness and resiliency. We will enhance the success of our Wellness and Resiliency Workshop by improving website design to facilitate greater student interaction through web-based discussions, adding sessions on building resiliency through community, and introducing an associated in-person (or remote) monthly discussion group that focuses on challenges students are facing in graduate school. By evolving these activities, which will be open to all PhD students in the Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Washington University, to best meet our students' needs, we are confident they will increase the wellness and resiliency of all participating PhD students and in so doing provide them with critical skills that will help them enjoy and succeed in graduate school and beyond. The key measurable objectives of our proposed activities are: reduce student stress, increase student ability to manage stressful and anxiety-inducing situations, increase student wellness, and increase student resiliency. To assess the effectiveness of each intervention in achieving its goals, we will conduct pre-/post-test surveys with all students to track the impact of each activity on each parameter via multiple quantitative and qualitative questions.

Principal Investigator:
Winstead, Angela J, Morgan State University
RISE-REACHeS seeks to instill Resiliency, Excellence, Achievement and Community in Health Sciences Research Program in our trainees guided by social cognitive career theory (Byers-Winston, 2016). The goal of the REACHeS program is for trainees to arrive at graduate school armed with a shield of resiliency, supported by academic excellence and achievement ready to face the academic rigor and psychological hurdles on the journey to a Ph.D. In Spring 2021, the RISE program director and program coordinator participated in the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE) “Becoming A Resilient Scientist” series and were trained to be facilitators of small group sessions. The RISE trainees also participated in the program by watching the NIH webinars and participating in the small group sessions. In this supplemental, the goal is to extend the current one semester Wellness and Resilience Scientist Program into a multi-year experience that supports the demographics and specific needs of the trainees in the REACHeS program. The proposed wellness program is built on the established NIH OITE Resilience Training Program, but will extend the “Becoming a Resilient Scientist” series into a multi-year series that will evolve as trainees matriculate through the program, and tailor topics from “Becoming A Resilient Scientist” units to meet the needs of our trainees in dealing with implicit biases, micro- and macro- aggressions.


Title: Expanding a Model Program Which Has Increased the Number of Underrepresented Students in Biomedical-Relevant Graduate Programs
Principal Investigator(s):
Molek, Karen Sinclair (Contact); Cavnar, Peter J., University Of West Florida
The UWF MARC Scholars Program seeks to dramatically increase retention, academic performance, degree attainment, and graduate school matriculation rates among underrepresented biomedical minority students at the University of West Florida (UWF). For students, navigating the biomedical research training pathway can seem overwhelming and lead to stress, anxiety and self-doubt. Achievement of success can be heavily impaired when mental health is not sound. Both ethnically and financially underrepresented (UR) students often face impenetrable barriers to realizing their success, especially in regard to the aforementioned aspects. The supplemental resources requested herein use evidence-informed wellness modules to transform and empower MARC Scholars and faculty mentors. This program is designed to 1) provide the tools/training necessary to increase student and faculty capacity and communication of these challenges surrounding wellness and resilience, 2) build skills for MARC Scholars, and all UWF biomedical research students, to provide coping strategies and tools to help participants support their own mental health and that of others, 3) provide training for faculty to proactively plan and provide an environment founded on wellness and resilience. Specifically, we will employ resources developed from the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education to promote wellness and resiliency. The proposed plan will impact all students who work in the participating faculty mentor’s labs and enhance the wellness and resilience culture of teaching and research mentoring at UWF to help achieve a greater balance for our work and for our lives. This plan will also be open for UWF STEM scholar students to enhance the biomedical student wellness and resilience at UWF.

Title: HopkinsPREP: Research, Community, Professional Training and Personal Growth
Principal Investigator:
Wilson, Katherine L, Johns Hopkins University
Motivated by challenges faced by recent PREP scholars, we want to help scholars identify potential stressors and provide them with positive coping skills to prevent these issues from sabotaging their PREP experience and future success. Previously, such challenges were addressed on an individual basis through ad-hoc intervention by PREP leadership, and in serious cases intervention came frustratingly late, when issues reached crisis points. We now recognize a systemic need for early, communitywide wellness training. This supplement will develop an innovative mentoring plan that takes a wholistic approach and makes wellness a focus of the PREP program. Critically, this new programming will help the PREP leadership identify potential issues faced by individual scholars and provide early intervention that may be transformative for scholars, enhancing both their immediate experience and long-term success. Our long-term goal is for PREP scholars to develop life skills essential to becoming resilient scientists and thriving during PREP and throughout their professional careers by explicitly incorporating wellness training into our program. Our specific aims are to: (1) recruit and mentor a cohort of Near-Peer Mentors (NPMs), (2) develop series of workshops and self-assessments based on five areas of wellness, (3) analyze the efficacy of the new workshops, (4) finalize our deliverables (a series of guided self-assessments, case studies, discussion questions and workshops), (5) share these training modules first with T32-funded PhD programs and Diversity Based Programs within Hopkins and other PREP programs and finally (6) disseminate this new wellness program via a publication the following year.

Title: Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) at Vanderbilt
Principal Investigator(s):
Velez Edwards, Digna R (Contact); Rhoades (Sterling), Julie A; Serezani, C Henrique, Vanderbilt University
Burnout and mental health in biomedical doctoral students have been identified as significant challenges that may adversely impact the quality of scientific research, academic productivity, and attrition in graduate training programs. When exploring what can be done to help graduate students with anxiety and depression it was determined that creating spaces of positive reinforcement, contextualizing, normalizing failure, and offering social interactions would be beneficial, and in 2020, the JED Foundation discussed the importance of incorporating training in social and emotional well-being into graduate student training in “Supporting Graduate Student Mental Health and Well-being.” The same report calls for graduate programs to “nurture an inclusive learning environment to allow graduate students to optimize personal, academic and professional growth.” We propose to create and pilot Wellness Explored, a new semester-long module culminating in an individually authored well-being action plan for biomedical graduate students. Utilizing the eight wellness dimensions as a framework, the participants will intentionally explore community and university well-being opportunities and resources. The module will culminate with each participant authoring an individualized action plan for their wellness. Trainees who complete this module and action plan will be better equipped to thrive not only in their research but in their daily lives.

Title: Predoctoral Training in Quantitative Cell & Molecular Biology
Principal Investigator(s):
Wilusz, Carol J (Contact); Argueso, Juan Lucas; Peccoud, Jean M; Sloan, Daniel Benjamin, Colorado State University
Graduate students face a stressful transition to the job market, a national mental health crisis, and ongoing racial and gender bias. The CSU Graduate School (CSU-GS) and the qCMB program are particularly concerned with decreased well-being and increased mental health issues among graduate students, which have only worsened in both frequency and severity with COVID-19. Some students enter graduate school with existing mental health issues, while many have the potential to experience a new mental health crisis during their graduate career. Proactive intervention around building resilience and psychological well- being skills will benefit all of these students and has the added benefit of reducing the need for counseling. CSU has a number of proactive mental health and well-being resources available to graduate students but their impact is limited due to constraints on the availability of time to participate. This resulted in our conclusion that any intervention needs to be integrated within the regular requirements of graduate students to increase participation and uptake of information. Thus, our proposed intervention is to develop a well-being skills builder module for virtual delivery that is compatible with the online course delivery system used at CSU. This well- being skills builder module will be developed such that it can be included in a regular course shell with other course materials or used on its own. It will be asynchronous and self-facilitated so faculty implementing the module do not need specific mental health expertise. Participants will complete a short growth mindset and self-efficacy activity. Students will then choose an additional three components to complete. The ability to self- select relevant skills to develop will give students agency, despite the required nature of the activity, and will allow students to tailor skill development to their needs. Clear information on counseling access will be provided within the module for students who recognize a need for these services. The goals of the module are to build well-being skills proactively and encourage meaningful interaction with, and use of well-being and mental health resources as needed during the student's career.

Title: Training in Wellness and Resiliency at the University of Rochester Medical Center and College of Arts, Sciences & Engineering
Principal Investigator(s):
Maquat, Lynne E (Contact); Hayes, Jeffrey J, University Of Rochester
Resilience, well-being, mindfulness, equity and inclusion, compassion, empathy, self- and group-refection, self- efficacy, and knowing when to ask for scientific and psychological help from scientific colleagues and health- care givers are features that we all recognize to be important for a healthy, balanced, thoughtful, and productive professional career and personal life. We have all lived through large stressors that continue to present us with challenges, including the struggle for racial justice, gender-related discrimination, the COVID pandemic, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Together with the stressors of a highly competitive academic science profession, and the challenges of mentoring young scientists toward earning a PhD degree, it is important to be aware and practice effective means of coping with stress, and to connect with others in healthy ways. In today’s world, the risks of in-person social isolation are high, and while the internet can be a boon to learning, it can also be a source of mis-information and harm. This Supplement application proposes to establish and sustain the use of healthy connections through two exceptionally well-trained experts in wellness and resilience. Each guest speaker will instruct and lead discussions on topics related to best practices in wellness and resiliency through a number of focused and interactive events. Given the obvious need among our faculty and students, and the track-record of the two facilitators, we are certain that these training opportunities will help refresh and center participants, as well as giving them valuable tools to employ to maintain wellness and resiliency into the future. We also propose to measure the success of our training by surveying participants immediately after the trainings, in consultation with the two training experts, and then again one year later through our T32 Steering Committee, for both retention and perceived outcomes.

Title: Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Predoctoral Training in Molecular, Cellular, and Biochemical Sciences
Principal Investigator(s):
Mowry, Kimberly L (Contact); Johnson, Mark Aikens; Larschan, Erica Nicole, Brown University
Promoting wellness and strategies for building resilience is important for retaining talented scientists, especially women and underrepresented minority scientists, in the workforce, and facilitating their long-term success. The activities proposed here would fill an important gap in our offerings, and address an increased need for access to these resources brought about by the pandemic. We propose to build upon and sustain the NIH's ""Becoming a Resilient Scientist"" series at Brown via three primary activities: 1. Development and delivery of an expanded resiliency curriculum; 2. Engagement of Resiliency Ambassadors who will serve as peer facilitators; and 3. Recruiting additional faculty to participate and train to be future facilitators of the curriculum. The three faculty that will lead this initiative are trained facilitators who piloted the NIH content and facilitated discussions in Fall 2021. Based on feedback collected from the initial cohort of 20 trainees, we propose to develop this content into a course with additional interactive content, including expert guest speakers and experiential learning activities. We will recruit participants from the parent T32 program, as well as our other NIGMS-funded T32/R25 programs, doctoral programs in the Division of Biology and Medicine, and postdoctoral trainees from life science disciplines across the university. Indeed, we currently have a waitlist of trainees eager to obtain resiliency training, and who will benefit from the proposed course. Peer facilitators who have been involved in resiliency content previously will further engage course participants, serve as a resource, and participate in dissemination of the course experience and outcomes. Additional faculty facilitators will be trained to help sustain the course in future years and advocate for resiliency supports. Altogether, we aim to build a community of resiliency at Brown, which will, in turn, support the continued success of our trainees as they build careers in the biomedical sciences.​