Two People Talking

Community Mentorship Training program connects Scholars to community partners

Four pairs of mentors and mentees will begin the first cohort of the Community Mentorship Training program in July. The program is a year-long, collaborative training for Scholars in the KL2 program that connects them with mentors from communities directly affected by their research. 

Collaborative program structure

CTSI-Ed, CTSI’s Research Education, Training, and Career Development core, developed the Community Mentorship Training program to work toward the organization’s goal of directly engaging with community partners during the creation and use of clinical trials and studies, a necessary step for more equitable and accessible solutions for human health.

The program began with Scholars identifying key stakeholders in their research, and community stakeholders interested and affected by the same topics. Community mentors were identified by the program’s Principal Investigator, Sheila Riggs, DDS, MS, DMSc, with careful consideration to their connection with Scholars’ research topics. Mentors will be given training on the basics of translational research and how it can help communities.

“The insights given to us by communities affected by University research are crucial, and it’s really important to us that a true partnership is formed with communities and they don’t feel like they’ve been ignored or abandoned after the research is finished,” Dr. Riggs explains. “We see the Community Mentorship Training program as an opportunity to learn more about what our community partners need from us, while giving our Scholars training on how to work with communities with empathy and equity.”

Another goal of the program: enhance the Scholar’s understanding and experience of conducting research with people and communities. 

“Scholars will be gaining more meaningful, in-depth research with this approach,” Riggs adds. “All research and resulting translation can benefit from a closer relationship with its participants.”

The program consists of four online modules covering community mentorship and translational research and a two-hour in-person workshop. Mentors and mentees will meet three more times after the kickoff event, at the location of the community mentor. 

Introducing the 2019 cohort

KL2 Scholar: Sophia Albott, MD, MA
Community mentor: Hal Pickett, Psy.D., LP, ABPP
Research topic: Depression

KL2 Scholar: Ann Bantle, MD
Community mentor: Wendy Foley, MBA
Research topic: Diabetes

KL2 Scholar: Sandra Safo, PhD, MSc
Community mentor: Julia Joseph-DiCaprio, MD, MPH
Research topic: Cardiovascular disease and HIV

KL2 Scholar: Andrew Grande, MD
Community mentor: Simon Carvalho
Research topic: Stroke

Learn more about the Community Mentor Training program and other CTSI-Ed opportunities

The Community Mentorship Training program is funded through a National Institutes of Health supplement award received in 2018. While working with KL2 Scholars, the program will be focusing on early-career Scholars. Upon completion of this pilot, similar training opportunities for an expanded group of CTSI Scholars at more advanced levels will be available. Programs similar to the KL2 across the CTSA Consortium will have access to the results and materials of the Community Mentorship Training program, once completed.

Learn more about the Community Mentor Training program and find future updates on the CTSI program page. Learn more about the Scholars programs, other career development opportunities, and community-engaged research on CTSI’s Education and Training page and community engagement page.