The 2021 application cycle is closed.
These awards increase opportunities for underrepresented faculty who are committed to diversity, inclusion and equity, to advance to senior positions in academic medicine and leadership.
The two awards categories are the Physician/Scientist Development Award (PSDA) and the Clinician/Teacher Development Award (CTDA). Each award provides funding over three or four years and is designed for Mass General-appointed faculty pursuing different career goals.
The Clinician-Teacher Development Award (CTDA) provides funding support for a clinical, educational or community project to a faculty member (junior and mid-career), fellow, or graduating resident pursuing an academic career as a clinician, teacher, administrative or community leader at Mass General. This award offers a total of $120,000 in grant and loan repayment support plus 15% indirect costs to be spent over a four-year period. Two awards will be funded by the MGPO. Download the 2021 CTDA application.
The Physician/Scientist Development Award (PSDA) provides transitional grant funding which will aid the applicant (fellow or junior faculty) in becoming an independent investigator at MGH. NOTE: The total funding amount has increased from last year. Up to $180,000 plus 15% indirect costs will be awarded to be spent over a three or four-year period, with a maximum of $60,000 plus indirect costs per year for three-year awards and a maximum of $45,000 plus indirect costs per year for four-year awards. As approved by the MGH Chiefs of Service, four awards will be funded via a 50% cost share between ECOR and the applicant's department. Cost sharing exceptions will be considered if departmental resources are an issue. Submit a PSDA application.
The CDI Faculty Development Award Consultation Service is designed to help applicants develop a strong application for the Physician-Scientist and Clinician-Teacher Development Awards. Through this service, you can speak with a previous award winner for advice on your application, including your research plan, personal statement, and letters. To request a consultation, please complete this survey.
2021 Clinician-Teacher Development Award Recipients
Paula A. Aduen, PhD
Department of Psychiatry
Massachusetts General Hospital Multicultural Assessment and Research Center
Massachusetts General Hospital Multicultural Alzheimer’s Prevention Program
Instructor, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Aduen is a Clinical Neuropsychologist within the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry, junior research faculty in the Multicultural Alzheimer’s Prevention Program (MAPP), and is an Instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School. She serves as Assistant Director of the Multicultural Assessment and Research Center (MARC). She received her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Virginia. She completed her psychology residency at the University of Chicago Medicine and post-doctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology at the Harvard Partners Consortium (Massachusetts General Hospital/Brigham and Women's Hospital/HMS).
Dr. Aduen's primary clinical interests are in aging, neurodegenerative diseases, and multicultural neuropsychology. She is committed to serving historically underrepresented communities through promoting greater accessibility and providing culturally-sound practices in neuropsychology to the Latino community. At MGH MARC, she provides neuropsychological evaluations to culturally and linguistically diverse adult patients presenting with a range of cognitive concerns. Dr. Aduen has dedicated most of her research career to examining the relationship between cognition, behavior, and functional outcomes in neurodevelopmental, neurological, and neurodegenerative disorders. Currently, her research interests include development and validation of neuropsychological instruments sensitive to pre-clinical cognitive change in Alzheimer’s disease, as well as, understanding chronic and cumulative life stress as a risk factor for cognitive decline among Latinos. She is passionate about the translatability of these findings to aid in the identification and operationalization of modifiable risk factors that place Latinos at greater risk for accelerated aging and dementia.
Abstract: Chronic Stress as a Risk Factor for Age-Related Cognitive Decline in Latinos
Prevalence rates of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) are greater among older Latinos and African Americans compared to their White-Caucasian counterparts. While it is well established that older age and family history are risk factors for ADRD and accelerated aging, there has been increasing interest in identifying potentially modifiable lifestyle factors to mitigate risk among vulnerable populations. It has been estimated that about 40 % of the risk to develop ADRD could be reduced by modifying lifestyle factors. Chronic stress, both psychological and biological, emerges as a strong candidate factor for exploration given its association with adverse health outcomes, which in turn impact aging and cognition. Given several psychosocial factors associated with immigration- and acculturation-related stress, it is unsurprising that Latino immigrants are particularly at risk for adverse health consequences from chronic stress. As such, investigating whether chronic stress impacts cognitive decline, and overall risk for ADRD in older Latinos is pivotal to improve prevention, early detection, and development of novel treatments and interventions for this critically underserved and understudied population. This will be one of the first studies to examine chronic stress, through a multi-pronged assessment approach utilizing both psychological constructs and biological measures of stress, as a risk factor for cognitive decline in older Latinos. The precise and thorough measurement approach to this study is undoubtedly a strength that will help clinicians understand at which facet of stress a potential intervention is plausible and meaningful.
Onyinyechi F. Eke, MD
Department of Emergency Medicine, Division of Emergency Ultrasound
Director, Global Ultrasound
Instructor in Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Eke is an emergency medicine physician and Director of Global Ultrasound in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland, College Park and medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore. Dr Eke completed emergency medicine residency training at Cook County Hospital, Chicago and fellowship in emergency ultrasound at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr Eke is a national and international point-of-care ultrasound educator. In 2020, she received the Academy of Emergency Ultrasound Fellow Education Award by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. Her research focus is the development of point-of-care ultrasound education and training in resource-limited settings, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the efficient utilization of point-of-care ultrasound to facilitate patient care in the emergency department.
Abstract: Implementation of Tele-ultrasound in an Academic Emergency Department: A Study of Feasibility, Acceptability and Clinical Impact
Point-of-care ultrasound is a clinically efficient and cost-effective diagnostic modality used in the delivery of care to patients in the emergency department. Its optimum use is dependent on adequate training and proficiency of its users; however, this competency can be variable, even in a tertiary care emergency department. Preliminary data collected at Massachusetts General Hospital show that further support is needed among emergency department clinical providers when using point-of-care ultrasound clinically. This project aims to use tele-ultrasound, remote expert support for ultrasound use and interpretation, to fill this need and to improve point-of-care ultrasound utility in the emergency department, thus improving clinical workflow and patient care. The proposed research will begin with a baseline assessment of point-of-care ultrasound utilization according to the RE-AIM implementation framework. This data along with qualitative interviews will be used to optimize the implementation strategy for tele-ultrasound that will then be assessed through repeat assessment with the RE-AIM framework in a hybrid type II clinical effectiveness implementation evaluation.
Jona Ludmir, MD
Corrigan Minehan Heart Center
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Ludmir is a critical care cardiologist at the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center ICU at Mass General. He is also an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ludmir received his medical degree from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He completed his residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, cardiology fellowship at the University of Maryland Medical Center, and critical care fellowship at Stanford University Medical Center. Dr. Ludmir specializes in cardiac intensive care, critical care echocardiography, and heart disease prevention. Dr. Ludmir is the lead physician for the family-centered care initiated in the Heart Center ICU, where he focuses on incorporating evidence-based guidelines for family-centered cardiovascular care delivery. His research interests include optimizing communication in the ICU, developing family support strategies in the ICU, and improving cardiovascular healthcare disparities.
Abstract: The Hispanic Acute Myocardial Infarction Discharge Intervention Study (HAMIDI)
Hispanic patients experience disproportionate challenges in accessing cardiovascular care, including in the setting of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The delay in care often begins with lack of understanding and recognition of AMI symptoms, thereby delaying activation of 911 and hospital presentation. Compared with non-Hispanic white patients, Hispanic patients experience delays in the initial triage and reperfusion in the setting of AMI. While in-hospital mortality across Hispanic and non-Hispanic white patients post-AMI is similar, young Hispanic women experience higher in-hospital mortality compared with young white men. The healthcare disparities persist post-AMI discharge, in particular with 30-day readmission rates and cardiac rehabilitation referrals. Because of the challenges Hispanic patients face with post-AMI care, the Hispanic Acute Myocardial Infarction Discharge Intervention Study (HAMIDI) aims to provide a culturally sensitive discharge framework in hopes of improving readmission rates and cardiovascular health metrics. Patients enrolled in this study will participate in a comprehensive post-discharge program, involving follow-up with a Spanish-speaking cardiologist within two weeks post-discharge, cardiac rehabilitation, and a four-part educational group visit program.
2021 Physician/Scientist Development Award Recipients
Eman Akam, PhD
Department of Medicine, Cardiology Division
Instructor, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Akam is an investigator at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cardiology Division and an Instructor in Medicine in the Sosnovik group at the Cardiovascular Research Center. Dr. Akam received her PhD in Chemistry from the University of Arizona and completed her postdoctoral training with professor Peter Caravan at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at MGH. Dr. Akam’s research focuses on development of imaging tools that can inform on molecular mechanisms of fibrotic heart and lung diseases. Additionally, Dr. Akam is passionate about mentoring, outreach, and the advancement and equal representation of historically marginalized communities in STEM fields. Dr. Akam is the recipient of the New England Educational Opportunity Association (NEOA) 2019 Rising Star award, and the co-founder of the Melanated and Dedicated (MaD) Scientist outreach program.
Abstract: Targeted Molecular Imaging of Cardiac Fibrogenesis in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction (HFpEF)
Heart failure (HF) with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is a poorly understood syndrome that is projected to become the leading cause of HF in the next decade. Twenty years of research and numerous clinical trials with over 15,000 patients have failed to produce any effective therapies. A major hurdle in HFpEF drug development is the lack of methods that can sensitively detect and diagnose HFpEF, and the clinical diagnosis of HFpEF remains challenging. One of the central features of HFpEF is the development of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the heart. We have previously demonstrated that fibrogenesis-targeted MRI contrast agents can sensitively detect early stages of lung fibrosis and distinguish between active and stable remodeling. The aim of this proposal is to use a targeted imaging agent to detect active fibrosis in the heart in a mouse model of HFpEF. This approach has the potential to address many of the challenges we face in HFpEF research and clinical care. Molecular imaging of a biochemical feature of HFpEF would enable quantification of disease burden at the molecular level, which in turn enables diagnosis, grading/staging of the disease as well as monitoring its progression. The outcomes of this work have the potential to accelerate our understanding of HFpEF and provide more effective approaches to development of HFpEF therapies.
Efren Flores, MD
Department of Radiology
Assistant Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School
Officer, Radiology and Community Health Improvement & Equity
Dr. Flores currently serves as a board-certified staff radiologist in Thoracic and Emergency Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and is an Assistant Professor in Radiology at Harvard Medical School and Officer of Radiology Community Health Improvement & Equity at MGH. Dr. Flores graduated from the University of Puerto Rico Medical School and trained in radiology at MGH. Dr. Flores is passionate about patient outreach and advocacy. His research focuses on identifying social determinants of health impacting access to radiology among underrepresented minorities and develop and implement low-cost programs to bridge the healthcare disparities gap. Growing up in Puerto Rico, Dr. Flores witnessed the devastating effects of inadequate access to healthcare on disease progression and quality of life for underserved populations. As a radiologist who provides clinical imaging services at both a quaternary care urban medical center and a rural community hospital, he continues to see dramatic differences in healthcare outcomes and has dedicated his career to understanding and eliminating these disparities in healthcare access. Lung cancer screening can advance health equity in lung cancer outcomes among Latino communities through early detection. Dr. Flores has devoted his career to develop a nationally recognized health services research program focused on elucidating disparities in radiology care due to the social determinants of health, and developing low-cost, generalizable clinical solutions in collaboration with a growing network of community collaborators.
Abstract: Health Equity & Access for Lung Screening (HEALS): A study of multimodal digital outreach for lung cancer screening among Latino current and former smokers
Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related death among Latinos, and existing disparities in lung cancer outcomes have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lung cancer screening (LCS) can serve as a pillar to bridge disparities in lung cancer outcomes through early detection among Latino communities. However, despite the proven benefits of LCS in reducing lung cancer mortality, only 10-20% of the eligible population has been screened; the proportion of eligible Latinos participating in LCS is likely to be lower. This proposal seeks to reduce LCS disparities among Spanish speaking Latinos and Latinos with limited English proficiency served by our health care system by implementing a multimodal digital outreach intervention to increase LCS engagement among eligible Latino individuals using a 3-tiered approach: 1) Accurate identification of smoking history to increase LCS opportunities; 2) Digital outreach tailored for Latino communities to increase LCS awareness; 3) Measuring efficacy to increase LCS participation among Latino patients. The specific aims of this proposal are to 1) assess the community needs and emerging barriers to LCS through conducting a survey with Latino communities served by our healthcare system and (2) to employ a mixed-methods approach to explore preferences for message source, channel, and content about LCS during the ongoing COVID-19 to inform a future, culturally tailored LCS outreach intervention among Latino communities. The overarching goal of this proposal is to increase LCS participation and decrease lung cancer disparities by developing a framework to identify barriers to LCS, engage the Latino community in the development of a multimodal digital outreach intervention, and determine the best approach to increase LCS participation among eligible Latino individuals.
Yasmin G. Hernandez-Barco, MD
Pancreatic Diseases, Division of Gastroenterology
Instructor, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Hernandez-Barco is a Gastroenterologist and Medical Pancreatologist for the Division of Gastroenterology with a clinical focus on caring for patients with acute pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis, pancreatitis of unknown etiology, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, pancreatic cysts, and pancreatic cancer. Dr. Hernandez-Barco is a physician-scientist and studies the immunobiology of pancreatic cancer precursor lesions and the role of the immune system in malignant progression of pancreatic cancer. She is a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Nabeel Bardeesy, PhD, an expert in pancreatic and biliary cancers. She is actively involved in research which includes developing technologies for the early detection of pancreatic cancer and pancreatic cysts and developing clinical diagnostic tools and treatments in the management of various subtypes of pancreatitis.
Dr. Hernandez-Barco received her medical degree from SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine where she was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha and Gold Humanism Honors Societies and awarded the Glasgow-Rubin Citation for academic achievement. She completed her residency and chief residency at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Hernandez-Barco completed her Gastroenterology and Hepatology Fellowship in the Division of Gastroenterology at MGH. She completed an additional year of advanced fellowship training in Medical Pancreatology at MGH and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is the past recipient of numerous grants including Andrew L Warshaw Pancreatic Cancer Research Award and Dana Farber Harvard Cancer Center Career Development award. She is actively involved in gastroenterology and pancreatic professional societies and serves on several national committees including the American College of Gastroenterology’s (ACG) Food and Drug Administration Related Matters Committee, ACG Technology and Innovation Committee, and ACG Young Physician Scholar Program Steering Committee.
Abstract: Molecular Mechanisms of Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasms
Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasia (IPMN) is a cystic tumor of the pancreas seen in 10% of the population. Retrospective data shows that >1/3 of patients with IPMN are at risk of developing invasive pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA), one of the deadliest malignancies. Unfortunately, current clinical and imaging criteria are inadequate for predicting the likelihood of IPMN becoming malignant. The only treatment for IPMN or resulting PDA is surgical resection, which carries significant morbidity (40-50%) and mortality (2%).
Thus, critical challenges include the need to identify patients who are at risk for developing PDA and to improve diagnostic methods and develop preventive therapies, as well as to develop more targeted treatments for IPMN-derived PDA.
We have developed a series of novel genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) and have access to one of the largest surgically resected IPMN biorepositories in the world. From these models, we discovered that IPMNs have a distinct immune microenvironment that is rich in tumor suppressive cells and is controlled by specific genetic mutations found only in IPMNs. In this proposal, we aim to further classify these tumor subtypes and identify factors related to cancer progression so that we may uncover strategies for early intervention or treatment of advanced disease.
Gabriela Soriano Hobbs, MD
Department of Medicine, Cancer Center
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Hobbs received her bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and her medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She did her internal medicine training at Brigham and Women’s hospital and completed hematology/oncology fellowship training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Hobbs is the clinical director of the leukemia service at MGH. Her clinical and research focus is on the care of patients with a group of chronic leukemias called myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). Her research focuses on developing clinical trials for patients with MPNs. In addition to investigating new drugs for patients with MPNs, the trials she leads seek to expand knowledge on MPN disease biology. In addition to drug trials, she is investigating how patients with MPNs respond to vaccination in general, and the COVID vaccine in particular. In addition to the PSDA award, her work is currently supported by a K12 Paul Calibresi Award, and an American Society of Hematology Harold Amos Faculty Development Award. She is a past recipient of the American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant, an Eleanor Miles Shore award, an American Society of Clinical Oncology Young Investigator Award and the CDI Sanchez Ferguson Award.
Abstract: In-depth investigation of immune response to COVID-19 vaccination in patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how vulnerable we are to disease without vaccination. A year into the pandemic, there are several approved vaccines. However, little is known about how cancer patients respond to vaccination. I am a leukemia specialist and treat patients with leukemias called myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). MPN patients are immunosuppressed, and studies show that only 45% develop immunity to the yearly influenza vaccine. For this proposal, I will collect blood from MPN patients and healthy volunteers before and after receiving COVID-19 vaccines to learn how they respond to vaccination. First, we will measure antibody titers before and after vaccination. Specifically, we will assess cumulative IgG, IgA and IgM anti-spike by ELISA (binding site) and we will perform quantitation of spike-specific IgG. Second, T-cell responses to COVID-19 vaccinations will be measured utilizing interferon gamma ELISpot assays. Lastly, we will use mass cytometry to get an in depth look at how different cells in the immune system interact in response to vaccination. Our goal is to gain a deeper understanding of the immune status of patients with leukemia and to learn how they respond to vaccination. Ultimately, we will continue to investigate how leukemia patients, and immunocompromised patients, respond to vaccination to better guide the care of our patients.
Karla Ramos Torres, PhD
Department of Radiology, Gordon Center for Medical Imaging
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Ramos Torres is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Gordon Center for Medical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She has broad training at the interface of chemical biology, organic, inorganic and radiochemistry applied to imaging. Her research interests are directed at the application of chemical and chemical biology strategies to support the discovery and development of technologies for disease diagnosis, monitoring and treatment. Dr. Ramos Torres received her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras and earned her PhD in Chemistry and Chemical Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research as a research fellow at the Gordon Center focuses on the development and application of new small molecule PET radiopharmaceuticals designed to better understand neurological disorders.
Abstract: Imaging brain injuries in animal models using PET
Disruptions to the myelin sheath, the protective layer that covers nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, can affect neuronal ability to propagate action potentials needed for the proper function of motor, sensory and cognitive skills. Demyelination is a hallmark in a wide range of neurological pathologies, including multiple sclerosis, leukodystrophies, Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain (TBI) and spinal cord injury (SCI) and stroke, among others. However, demyelination is not a stand-alone feature in these disorders, being usually accompanied by other processes including neuroinflammation. It is therefore attractive to identify and develop methods that can accurately quantify and assess myelin status in order to diagnose and monitor disease progression and treatment.
Currently, myelin content in demyelinating diseases is evaluated with MRI. However, while MRI is highly sensitive to demyelination, it cannot discriminate between demyelination and other simultaneous processes present in these pathologies, such as inflammation and axonal loss. Due to its biochemical specificity and quantification ability, positron emission tomography (PET) can serve as a complementary technique to MRI. [18F]3F4AP, a recently developed 4-aminopyridine (4AP) based PET tracer that binds to voltage-gated K+ channels, has been proven to visualize demyelination in rodent models of multiple sclerosis (MS). The proposed research project seeks to assess the potential utility of this radiotracer to identify white matter injury in a variety of pathologies, namely models of brain injury, and distinguish between the progression of demyelination and inflammation.
The specific goals of this proposal are to study [18F]3F4AP, in combination with the known neuroinflammation tracer [11C]PBR28, as a tool to evaluate demyelination and inflammation with PET imaging in mouse brain injury models for open-head injury and stroke. Mice will be subjected to a well-characterized mouse model of TBI, open-head controlled cortical impact (CCI), and monitored in a longitudinal PET imaging study with both radiotracers to evaluate focal changes in myelin content and/or inflammation, followed by corroboration with histopathological and histochemical characterization of the brain tissue. Additionally, the study will expand to mouse models of stroke to study the pathologies of demyelination and neuroinflammation with imaging, histology and behavioral methodologies.
Julia M. Rosenbloom, MD
Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine,
Division of Pediatric Anesthesia
Assistant Professor in Anesthesia, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Julia Rosenbloom is a pediatric anesthesiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children. She earned a BA summa cum laude from Harvard College, an MA from Queen’s University Belfast (as a George Mitchell Scholar), and an MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; she will finish an MPH at the T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health in May 2021. Dr. Rosenbloom completed an anesthesiology residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital and a pediatric anesthesia fellowship at Children’s Hospital Philadelphia. Her research focuses on racial and ethnic disparities in perioperative care in the United States, with a particular focus on pediatric populations. She was supported by a T32 Research Training for Harvard Anesthetists and was a past recipient of the Eleanor and Miles Shore 50th Anniversary Fellowship.
Abstract: Racial Differences in Treatment of Pediatric Preoperative Anxiety: A Multilevel and Mixed Methods Approach
A majority of the approximately six million children who undergo anesthesia annually in the United States will experience preoperative anxiety, putting them at risk for poor postoperative outcomes. Several studies have suggested that Black non-Latino and Latino children may receive different treatment for preoperative anxiety than White non-Latino patients: specifically, Black and Latino patients may be less likely to receive midazolam (a benzodiazepine) and more likely to have parental presence at induction (PPAI). However, these findings derive from single-institution studies which neither used established disparities methodology nor considered mediating factors or associated clinical outcomes.
To address this knowledge gap, we will perform a mixed-methods study within the Mass General Brigham Health System to explore the magnitude, mechanisms, associated clinical consequences, and provider perspectives of racial/ethnic disparities in treatment of pediatric preoperative anxiety. We will first characterize the extent by which management of preoperative anxiety varies by patient race/ethnicity and is explained by provider and hospital level factors. We will also determine whether specific treatments (PPAI or midazolam) are associated with any of four pre-identified poor clinical outcomes and evaluate the potential for heterogeneity of treatment effect by patient race/ethnicity. Finally, we will conduct semi-structured interviews to identify as-yet unexplored clinicians’ perspectives on treatment of pediatric preoperative anxiety. Our findings are expected to inform interventions such as protocolized clinical pathways and educational interventions for informing clinicians.