Mentorship is one of the most important ways through which the JHAD-RCMAR achieves its goal of a more diverse biomedical workforce by building the capacity of new investigators from under-represented backgrounds who are committed to research focused on health disparities and minority aging as it relates to Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders (ADRD).
The primary goal of this mentoring effort is the completion of a proposed pilot project and the acquisition or improvement of the tools and skills needed to have a successful research career in ADRD health disparities or minority aging research. Mentoring is individualized to the needs of each RCMAR Scientist funded by our Center.
The pilot project studies are funded for one year, but the JHAD-RCMAR has taken the approach of longitudinal mentoring of the RCMAR Scientists until they become highly productive and independent investigators.
The criteria include:
Achieving research and educational goals
Completing projects and producing products for both community and scientific audiences, including peer-reviewed manuscripts, newsletters, and posters
Displaying academic progress and productivity consistent with promotion to tenure rank
Developing the ability to write successful research grant applications
Evidence of growth as a scientific investigator
The Center’s Research Education Component (REC) Leadership facilitates this process by having the investigators fill out an Individual Development Plan. The Pilot Project Program capitalizes on the research and mentoring expertise of the Executive Committee, the Research Review Committee, and the JHAD-RCMAR program faculty as well as from other health disparities or aging centers at JHU to provide guidance to the RCMAR Scientists on the identification of potential research mentors and resources at the time of application and during post-award. The REC Leadership and Analysis Core play an important role in providing guidance specifically about methodological issues, including education and mentoring in mixed-methods research.
The emphasis on mentoring scholars from under-represented groups occurs in the context of engaging communities and health care providers – especially family caregivers, primary care practices, communities of faith, and community organizations – as our partners in developing strategies for early dementia detection and interventions with the potential to ameliorate the effects of cognitive impairment and dementia, and associated comorbidities, on minority older adults through new forms and methods of service delivery. The Center’s Community-Liaison and Recruitment Core works with the RCMAR Scientists to ensure the relevance of the ADRD research and to increase knowledge of engagement of community members in the research enterprise.