Why is the LEAD Program needed?
African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans comprise 30% of the United States population, but members of these racial/ethnic minority groups are underrepresented among NIH-funded researchers. Among researchers funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 2010, for example, 2% were African American, 4% were Hispanic, and less than 1% was Native American. The Learning for Early Careers in Addiction and Diversity (LEAD) training program was developed to help assistant professors from underrepresented racial/ethnic minority backgrounds receive funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as independent scientists.
What is the LEAD Program?
The LEAD Program is integrated within the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Clinical Trials Network (CTN). The LEAD Program uses a mentoring team approach: each LEAD Program scholar works with a CTN primary mentor, but also receives guidance from a UCSF mentor, and a nationally known racial/ethnic minority advisor. Scholars work primarily with their CTN primary mentor on substance abuse treatment research. The UCSF mentor coordinates the scholar’s needs with respect to the research education training program, and the ethnic/racial minority advisor provides access to informal professional information, support networks, and career advancement resources. Scholars will meet weekly with their CTN Primary Mentor and semiannually with their mentoring team.
The LEAD training program also includes a four-week intensive program at UCSF each summer where scholars participate in grant writing and manuscript development workshops to help them obtain grant funding.