The grant comes from a partnership with the Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation, or FIRST, to further support health disparity research at both HBCUs. The grant money will be used to hire and train 12 new research faculty members across both institutions to help with the effort.
“We are proud to continue our partnership with Tuskegee University in this endeavor to build a community of scientists committed to inclusive excellence by recruiting early-career faculty committed to promoting diversity and inclusion while addressing health disparities,” UAB Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine Dean and Senior Vice President for Medicine Selwyn Vickers, M.D. said in a release.
The faculty hired by UAB and Tuskegee will represent areas of research strength with knowledge of diseases that affect Black Americans today, including cancer, obesity, and diabetes, heart diseases, and neuroscience.
Program hires will be designated Benjamin-Carver scientists in honor of former U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., and research scientist, Tuskegee faculty member, and humanitarian George Washington Carver.
UAB and Tuskegee scientists will be given a comprehensive support infrastructure including sponsors, mentors, career coaches, institutional research navigators, and professional development opportunities to accelerate the development of collaborative networks and peer support.
“This is an incalculable opportunity to attract and recruit faculty from underrepresented populations and fully support their growth to become independent scientists,” Clayton Yates, Ph.D., director for the Center for Biomedical Research and MPI of this award, said in the release.
The coronavirus pandemic exposed deep inequities in terms of healthcare and the overall health of Black Americans compared to other races. Even today, almost two years into the pandemic, Black Americans are still getting infected and dying at a rate higher than white Americans.