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IDC Pilot Program


The overall goal of Investigator Development Core (IDC) is to create a more diverse biomedical workforce by building the capacity of a cadre of new investigators who are committed to investigating how place-based determinants impact minority health and health disparities. This goal will be largely achieved via a competitive application process to identify postdoctoral trainees, junior faculty, and other early stage investigators that will be called Health Disparities Scholars. These Scholars will be equipped with the skills to develop and implement cutting edge pilot studies, with support of the Research Methods Support Team in the Administrative Core, and translate and disseminate the findings to research, policy, and practice audiences with support from the Community Engagement and Dissemination Core.

In addition to funding and methodological support, Health Disparities Scholars will also be provided with access to a career development program, training and mentoring, and oversight of the pilot projects to completion. The IDC will leverage other innovative Center programs that build on over 10 years of expertise and leadership in the field through the “Certificate in Health Disparities and Health Inequality”; journal club for faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students; and a lecture series that is open to the public and the campus community.  The key outcome of the IDC is to create a community of scholars committed to the study of place-based determinants who are able to successfully obtain external research funding and advance the field.

Funded by the NIMHD 

Grant Number U54MD000214-6865

Specific Aims

Aim 1

 Solicit and award pilot studies that advance the understanding of place-based determinants of minority health and health disparities from postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty and ESI at JHU.

Aim 2

Support development of well-designed and informative pilot studies, by providing intellectual leadership that articulates the scientific vision, goals, and priorities of the HCHDS, and ensures optimal study design and utilization of the extensive research resources offered by the other cores. 

Aim 3

Provide and conduct longitudinal mentorship and oversight, from conception to translation, for Health Disparities Scholars whose pilot proposals are supported by the HCHDS. This includes content and career mentorship, assistance in helping the awardee understand how the project fits into the overall theme of place-based determinants of health disparities and minority health research, facilitating successful, timely completion of projects, and guiding the awardee in pursuing further independent funding of HCHDS supported research.

Aim 4

Guide the translation and dissemination of pilot study results into a deeper understanding of the place-based determinants, or into health promotion or clinical interventions and policies to achieve health equity through fostering interdisciplinary communication and collaboration between investigators and the research end-users.

Aim 5

Expand the research environment and network of investigators focused on place-based determinants of health disparities or minority health research by highlighting the scientific progress of the pilot and HCHDS research projects to the attention of the broader JHU community of scholars, and nationally to foster collaborations. 

2023 - 2024 Awardees

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Boeun Kim, PhD, MPH, RN

Project Title: Lifecourse Residential Segregation and Present-Day Physical Functional and Mental Health among Black and White adults aged 50 or older 

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Joshuaa Allison-Burbank, PhD, CCC-SLP

Project Title:  Language is Medicine: A Language Nutrition Intervention to Prevent Developmental Delay in DINÉ Children

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Lauren Zalla, PhD

Project Title: What will it take to eliminate racial disparities in HIV incidence in the US? A place-based, equity-focused approach to Ending the HIV Epidemic

2022 - 2023 Awardees

Julia Wolfson Headshot

Julia Wolfson, PhD

Project Title: Neighborhood food access, food agency, and diabetes risk among pregnant women in Baltimore City


Ali Sobhi Afshar, PhD

Project Title: Assessing the effect of COVID vaccination on racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-related outcomes

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Ashleigh LoVette, PhD

Project Title: Identifying place-based and multi-level aspects of trauma and resilience among young Black women in Baltimore facing disproportionate HIV risk (HER Experiences Study)

2021 - 2022 Awardees

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Alison Gemmill, PhD

Project Title: State-Level Determinants of Racial Disparities in Mortality among Reproductive - Aged Women

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Jennifer Glick, PhD

Project Title: Investigating the Role of Neighborhood in Opioid Use Disparities among Women at the Intersections of Race and Sexual Orientation

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Hossein Zare, PhD

Project Title: How Income Inequality has Influenced Health Outcomes in US Counties: Longitudinal Analytics (1999 - 2018)

2020 - 2021 Awardees

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Cassandra Crifasi, PhD

Project Title: A Multi-level, Multi-Domain Analysis of Health Disparities within US Gentrified Neighborhoods

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Lauren Parker, PhD

Project Title: Facilities and Barriers to Adult Day Service Utilization: Perspectives from African American Dementia Caregivers and their Adulty Day Service Provider

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Chanee Fabius, PhD

Project Title: Place-Based Efforts on Race Differences in the Use of Paid and Unpaid Care, Social Participation and Caregiver Burden for Older Adults with Disparities and their Family Caregivers

2018 - 2019 Awardees

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Jagriti Bhattarai, PhD, MS

Project Title: Place, Race, and the Healthcare System: A Pathway toward Patient Engagement in MS

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Johnathon Ehsani PhD, MPH

Project Title: Steering Autonomous Vehicles to Provide Safe and Equitable Transportation

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Lucine Francis PhD, RN

Project Title: A Mixed Methods Examination of Physical Activity and Screen Time in Urban Family Child Care Homes

2017 - 2018 Awardees

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Charvonne Holliday Nworu, PhD, MPH

Project Title: Racial/Ethnic Differences in Unintended Pregnancy Risk: A Place-Based Comparison

Genee Smith Headshot

Genee S. Smith, PhD, MSPH

Project Title: A Multi-level, Multi-domain Analysis of Health Disparities within US Gentrified Neighborhoods

Sabriya Linton headshot

Sabriya Linton, PhD, MPH

Project Title: The Impacts of Gentrification on Social Polarization, Violence, and Sexually Transmitted Infections among Black Adolescents and Adults in Atlanta, Georgia