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AAAS SEA Change Biomedicine hosted a webinar on Monday, June 21, 2021 to share information regarding:

  1. An evidence-based solution, the Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists, to retain and advance the research of physician scientists going through a period of increased family caregiving responsibilities,

  2. How this tool has been applied at three institutions, and

  3. About the one-time COVID-19 Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists competition.

This new grant opportunity for U.S. medical schools aims to strengthen “polices, practices, and processes to support research productivity and retention of early-career faculty with family caregiving responsibilities.” Funding for this grant is made possible by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and its partners, including Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Rita Allen Foundation, and Walder Foundation.

During the webinar, participants will have the opportunity to hear from Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil (University of Michigan Medicine) on the promising outcomes of the original Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists program. Participants will also hear remarks from three current program directors at medical schools that participate in the Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists program: Amelia F. Drake, MD, FACS (UNC School of Medicine), Judith Regensteiner, PhD (CU Anshutz), and Victoria J. Fraser, MD (Washington University School of Medicine).

Darla Thompson, PhD is the Project Director for SEA Change Biomedicine at AAAS. Dr. Thompson has over a decade of experience in social, ethical, and historical analyses of STEMM education and practices. Previously, she served as faculty and senior program manager for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Policy Research Scholars at The George Washington University, a leadership program for doctoral students from underrepresented backgrounds and under-resourced communities. Dr. Thompson served as a program officer in the Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. While there, she led workshops on topics such framing the dialogue on racial and ethnicity to advance health equity, achieving health equity and well-being in rural communities, exploring equity in multisector health partnerships, and community violence as a population health issue.

Sindy Escobar Alvarez is the program director for Medical Research at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. In this role, she designs and manages grant programs to support clinical research that advances the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of human diseases. Through her work, she aims to promote inclusive, equitable and effective grant making. Throughout her career, Escobar Alvarez has shared her scientific contributions and insight about the clinical research workforce through presentations at national meetings and in peer-reviewed publications. Escobar Alvarez currently serves as vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Health Research Alliance, a coalition of non-profit funders of biomedical research, and is a past member of both the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute's Advisory Panel on Rare Diseases and Vivli's External Advisory Committee. She is a graduate of the Pharmacology Department at the Weill Cornell Medicine Graduate School of Medical Sciences, through which she trained at the Sloan Kettering Institute of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Dr. Amelia Fischer Drake, MD, FACS, is Associate Dean of Faculty Development, N.D. Fischer Distinguished Professor of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery, and Director of the UNC Craniofacial Center. After graduating from the UNC School of Medicine, she completed her residency at the University of Michigan Medical Center at Ann Arbor and a fellowship in pediatric otolaryngology at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, before returning to UNC. Her leadership role in the UNC School of Medicine includes oversight of several programs relating to the advancement of women, leadership development and support of faculty who are also caregivers.

Victoria J. Fraser, MD, is the Adolphus Busch Professor of Medicine, chair of the Department of Medicine at Washington University (WU) School of Medicine, and physician-in-chief for Barnes-Jewish Hospital (BJH).

An expert in infectious disease and antibiotic resistance, Dr. Fraser’s research focus is on preventing and controlling hospital-acquired infections (HAI), adverse events and medical errors. Using prospective cohorts, interventional trials, administrative data and electronic health records in an integrated health care system, she has identified risk factors for HAIs, determined their morbidity, mortality and costs, and applied interventions in real-world settings to successfully reduce their occurrence. Current research includes prevention and control of SARS-CoV-2 in healthcare and community settings. Her clinical interests include the care of underserved patients, specifically patients with HIV/AIDS, and acute and chronic infections. She has experience developing and implementing interventions to improve healthcare outcomes in multiple settings.

Many organizations have funded Dr. Fraser’s research, including the CDC, AHRQ and NIH. She is the principal investigator of a CDC Prevention Epicenters Program and the Doris Duke Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists. She serves as a reviewer for the Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program, and served on the NIAID Microbiology and Infectious Diseases study section in addition to several NIH special emphasis review panels.

Dr. Fraser has mentored numerous trainees who have gone on to successful careers in academic medicine and has developed specific coursework for trainees beginning clinical research careers. She has received the Neville Grant Award, Distinguished Service Teaching Awards and the Academic Women’s Network (AWN) Mentoring Award at WU and BJH. From SHEA, she received the SHEA Lectureship, Mentor Scholar Award and Investigator Award, and has served as SHEA president. She was the IDSA Maxwell Finland Lecturer. She received the WU Distinguished Faculty Award, Univ. of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine Alumni Citation of Merit Award, Human Rights Campaign Foundation Ally for Equality Award, and WU AWN Pillar of Support Award. She is a Fellow in the AAAS and Master in the ACP.

Dr. Fraser received her doctorate in medicine from the Univ. of Missouri and was an internal medicine resident and chief resident at the Univ. of Colorado. She completed a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital.