New funding will support early-career faculty caregivers

November 17, 2021  //  FOUND IN: News

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the special challenges facing early-career faculty who are balancing family caregiving responsibilities with building their biomedical research careers. Now, new funding from national nonprofits and internal resources will help support selected U-M Medical School faculty facing this situation.

On Wednesday, Nov. 17, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, in concert with the American Heart Association, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the John Templeton Foundation announced that Michigan Medicine was selected as one of 22 academic medical institutions to receive funds from a new $12.1 million COVID-19 Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists

Those funds will be matched by the U-M Medical School and the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute to create a mentoring program and provide $100,000 in funding to nine early-career faculty members who will be chosen through an application process in coming months.

“We understand the strain that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on early-career faculty with family caregiving responsibilities, and that these responsibilities often disproportionately impact women and people of color,” said Julie Lumeng, M.D., associate dean for research at the U-M Medical School and executive director of the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research. “We hope that this program will contribute to addressing inequities and creating a more inclusive environment for faculty with family caregiving responsibilities.”

Lumeng, who is also a professor of pediatrics, will serve as the director of the new program. Kanakadurga Singer, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and physiology, and Sonya Jacobs, chief organizational learning officer for the university and the senior director for faculty and leadership development at the medical school, will serve as co-directors, overseeing the implementation of the faculty development and mentoring program for awardees.

The new national fund is designed to support the strengthening of policies, practices and processes at U.S. medical schools to advance the research productivity and retention of early-career faculty with family caregiving responsibilities.

At Michigan Medicine, the new funding will complement the medical school’s nationally recognized ADVANCE program that has transformed support for the needs of a diverse faculty, including grants available for science and engineering faculty across the entire university.

The applications will be open to full-time, post-training medical school faculty with appointments as instructors, lecturers, assistant professors, or first-year associate professors and at least 50% effort in research.

A call for applications will launch shortly through the online internal competition portal, Competition Space, and funding will begin in August 2022. The U-M Medical School Offices of Faculty Development, Research, and Health Equity and Inclusion will be involved in oversight and evaluation of the program.