April 9, 2004 Paving the road for career advancement: First Minority Faculty Development Awards
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April 9, 2004

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paving the road for career advancement: First Minority Faculty Development Awards

In his 25 years as a mentor and sought-after teacher, Ernesto Gonzalez, MD, of MGH Dermatology and an associate director of the MGH Multicultural Affairs Office (MAO), has worked with many talented young physicians who have trained here. But, when Gonzalez was asked by Peter L. Slavin, MD, president of the MGH, to oversee the selection process for a new clinician-teacher award, the task was even more challenging than he expected. In fact, the caliber of submissions for the first Clinician-Teacher Development Award — part of the Minority Faculty Development Awards program — was so high that the honor was bestowed on two outstanding candidates.

The MAO, the MGH Office of the President and the Executive Committee on Research (ECOR) are sponsors of the Minority Faculty Development Awards program, designed to help promote the careers of outstanding minority junior faculty. One award is for those pursuing the clinician-teacher track at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and the MGH, and the other is for those pursuing the physician-scientist career track.

This year's recipients of the Clinician-Teacher Development Award are Celina Mankey, MD, of MGH Internal Medicine and Primary Care, and Rocio Hurtado, MD, of MGH Infectious Diseases. The recipient of the Physician-Scientist Development Award is Karleyton Evans, MD, of MGH Psychiatry.

While Gonzalez coordinated the selection committee for the Clinician-Teacher Development Award, Win Williams, MD, director of the MAO, facilitated the review of the Physician-Scientist Development Award with the ECOR Subcommittees on Research Review Proposals. Evans and Mankey (not shown is Hurtado, who currently is in England)

"Win and I are extremely pleased with the high quality of the candidate submissions that we received for both of these awards," says Gonzalez. "The exceptional talent of the outstanding achievers who won the awards certainly has set the bar high for next year's awards. We are very excited that this program will help further the careers of the best and the brightest junior faculty." The clinician-teacher award is the first of its kind to be given at any of the Harvard teaching hospitals.

Although there has been some progress in increasing the number of underrepresented minorities entering medical schools throughout the country, the number of physicians of color entering training programs in academic medical centers has not kept pace with the available pool. This is particularly evident in the low number of minority physicians occupying academic research and clinician faculty positions. The goal of the Minority Faculty Development Awards program and other initiatives at the MGH is to help address some of the issues that current and future physicians of color face as they enter the world of academic medicine.

"This program is intended to provide transitional funding to help develop the careers of underrepresented minority clinicians and researchers," says Elena Olson, administrative director for the MAO, who helped develop and coordinate the awards. "The hope is that with this support, the awardees will have an increased opportunity to advance to senior positions in academic medicine at the MGH."

Each award totals $120,000, and is dispersed over several years. The grant money can be used for additional laboratory assistance and non-capital equipment for awardees pursuing the physician-scientist track, and salary support for an educational, clinical service or academic community service project for those pursuing the clinician-teacher track. Another component of the award is a loan forgiveness program to help repay educational loans through a taxable cash bonus.

The clinician-teacher award is supporting Mankey with a project that will help future residents and medical students as well as patients in the community. Her project includes a new curriculum in community medicine for the MGH Internal Medicine residency program and the creation of a community medicine clerkship at the MGH for HMS students. "My hope is that this curriculum will teach residents and students valuable community health assessment skills, enhance their patient care skills among diverse communities and will help implement programs to respond to the needs of patients in the community," says Mankey, who also is a co-manager of Trainee Affairs for the MAO. "I am extremely grateful to have received this award. It will provide me the opportunity to pursue this work and help me develop as a clinician educator and mentor."

Hurtado, who currently is training at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in England, received the clinician-teacher award to support clinical service and educational service projects relating to HIV and co-infection with tuberculosis. During the first two years of this award, Hurtado will use the grant money to develop an MGH Mycobacterial Center of Excellence. She will use the final two years of her grant to implement an international teaching module in Peru, where she already has ties through collaborations with HMS, the Peruvian Health Ministry and the nonprofit medical organization Partners in Health.

As a resident in the MGH/McLean Adult Psychiatry Program, Evans serves as a clinical assistant in the dual-campus program. The physician-scientist award recipient is conducting psychiatric neuroimaging research, with a particular interest in differentiating areas of the brain that perceive dyspnea — shortness of breath — from those related to fear and anxiety in patients during panic attacks. His study provides a novel approach to studying the panic phenomena and hopefully will lead to the development of new drugs or treatments for the disorder. "Support from this award enables me to conduct a study of my own design and carve out my own research niche, which is the most enriching part of this award. I'm tremendously grateful for this honor," says Evans.


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