The 2022 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. Three applications will be awarded: Two awards will be funded by the MGPO and one award will be funded by MGH Equity and Community Health/Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Download the 2022 CTDA application (PDF).
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. $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. Six applications will be awarded: Four will be funded by ECOR and two will be funded by CDI. 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.
2022 Clinician-Teacher Development Award Recipients
Nkechi Conteh MBBS, MPH
Associate Program Director, MGH/McLean Psychiatry Program
Staff Psychiatrist, Center for Women's Mental Health at Mass General
Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Conteh is a Psychiatrist at the Center for Women’s Mental Health, Massachusetts General Hospital, an Associate Program Director of the MGH/McLean Psychiatry Residency Program, and an Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She completed her adult psychiatry residency program at Duke University Hospital and obtained a Master’s in Public Health from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Conteh specializes in reproductive and perinatal psychiatry and health disparities research and is a medical educator in Community and Global psychiatry. She directs a collaborative care psychiatry clinic for pregnant/postpartum women at MGH Revere Health Center, and as a member of the MGH Chester Pierce Division of Global Mental Health, she assists with residency training in West Africa. Current projects include the development of a mentorship program for underrepresented in medicine residents and faculty, developing a psychiatry residency program in Sierra Leone, and creating a health disparities track for the MGH/McLean Physician Scientist Program.
Recent honors include the Association of Women Psychiatrists’ International Fellowship, the American Psychiatric Association Research Colloquium for Junior Investigators, the Group of Advancement of Psychiatry Fellowship, and the American College of Psychiatry Laughlin Fellowship.
Abstract: MGH/McLean Psychiatry Underrepresented in Medicine Mentorship Program (PUMP)
Mentorship of residents is critical to developing a successful career in medicine. Mentored residents are more likely to report excellent career preparation and reduced levels of burnout. Multiple studies have shown that residents who are underrepresented in medicine (UiM) are significantly less likely to establish a mentorship relationship than their peers. Recent evidence also suggests that UiM residents and faculty experience higher levels of isolation and lower career satisfaction than peers. In the past, academic institutions have sought to address the challenges faced by UiM trainees through peer mentorship and diversity training for staff and faculty. However, these initiatives have primarily prioritized academic achievement and research. This project employs the novel approach of targeting community support as a focus of mentorship by creating a structured mentorship program that provides monthly didactics to participating UiM faculty on topics unique to the UiM trainee experience. It also seeks to improve social connections through a structured pairing of UiM residents and UiM faculty that centers on interpersonal connectedness and incorporates a mentoring agreement plan highlighting the aspects of community support to be addressed. The effectiveness of the educational workshop for faculty and the residents' mentorship experience will be assessed through pre- and post-intervention surveys and semi-structured interviews at timed intervals.
John O. Hwabejire, MD, MPH
Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery, and Surgical Critical Care
Department of Surgery
Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Hwabejire is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and a Trauma and Acute care surgeon and Surgical Intensivist at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Newton-Wellesley Hospital. In addition to the broad spectrum of trauma, surgical critical care, emergency general surgery, and elective general surgery, his clinical interests include complex abdominal wall hernias, necrotizing soft tissue infection, wound care, and multidisciplinary surgical care of the elderly. His research interests include rapid triage of emergency general surgery patients and optimization of elderly patients for elective and emergency surgery. Dr. Hwabejire completed medical school at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, followed by a Master of Public Health in Healthcare Management and Policy at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He was a Research Fellow in Trauma, Emergency Surgery, and Surgical Critical Care at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He did his general surgery residency at the Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC and completed his fellowships in Trauma & Acute Care Surgery and Surgical Critical Care at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He sits on the Geriatric Surgery Committee of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma.
Abstract: Improving Short-term and Long-term Clinical and Functional Outcomes in Geriatric Emergency General Surgery Patients
Elderly individuals are the fastest growing population in the United States. The need for surgical intervention in this population is projected to increase even more. Due to physiologic changes associated with aging as well as the presence of a larger burden of pre-existing medical conditions, the ability of elderly patients to tolerate the stress of surgery is decreased. As a result, the question of whether or not to operate on elderly patients is a difficult one, especially in elderly patients presenting with emergent surgical conditions. One reason for this is the absence of post-surgical outcomes data in the elderly. Modern surgical practice is focused on death or survival as outcomes, but elderly patients place more value on ability to function after surgery. There are hardly any standard recommendations on how to care for elderly patients who require emergency general surgery. The overall goal of our study is to redefine how geriatric emergent surgical care is provided in the 21st century by assessing the current state of geriatric emergent surgical care, provide short- and long-term clinical and functional outcomes data, identify factors that contribute to poor outcomes, and specifically address these factors with a view to improving the quality of care.
Theresa Williamson, MD
Department of Neurosurgery
Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Williamson is an assistant professor of neurosurgery and surgical ethics researcher who cares for people with all types of spine disorders as well as brain and spinal trauma. Her clinical expertise includes tailoring an approach to best fit the patient and their disease including using minimally invasive techniques. Her research focus is neurosurgical decision-making and patient-doctor communication as well as health care disparities. She combines bioethics theory with empirical data science to tackle complex decision-making problems in neurosurgery. Dr. Williamson is a member of the Center for Outcomes and Patient Safety in Surgery (COMPASS) at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Dr. Williamson comes to MGH from Duke University. At Duke, she completed a neurosurgery residency. She then completed an intramural fellowship at Duke as part of the combined neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery complex spine fellowship approved by the Committee on Advanced Subspecialty Training (CAST). Her clinical skills were recognized when she was named the Resident Clinician of the Year (2017) and her leadership skills were recognized with the Leadership Award (2020). She completed the University of Chicago Maclean and American College of Surgeons Surgical Ethics Fellowship (2021). She is a graduate of the Yale School of Medicine (2014) and Yale College (2009) where she was a varsity soccer player.
Abstract: Helping Spine Surgeons Help Patients: An analysis of Surgical Candidacy and Shared Decision Making for Patients with Degenerative Spondylolisthesis
Back pain is one of the largest disablers of people worldwide (Safiri 2020). As the population ages, so does the number of patients with disabling back pain. Patients are often sick medically and may not be the “ideal” operative candidates. Particularly for patients of color and lower income patients, surgery is often avoided (Schoenfeld 1976). However, we have an opportunity to help return function and decrease pain in correctly selected patients (Riley 2018).The goal of this study is to figure out which patients might be appropriate for surgical intervention and which would have the same or better outcomes with no surgery at all. If there are patients, particularly patients of color that aren’t getting surgery despite a high likelihood of pain relief post- operatively, we will study whether decision aids increase decision concordance.
2022 Physician/Scientist Development Award Recipients
Veronica Clavijo Jordan, PhD
Department of Radiology
Instructor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Clavijo Jordan is an Instructor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School and at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at MGH. Dr. Clavijo Jordan received her doctoral degree in Biomedical Engineering from Arizona State University and completed her post-doctoral training at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Dr. Clavijo Jordan’s research focuses on the design and evaluation of molecular probes that can act as sensors and report on organ function, disease status, and therapeutic response in cancer, inflammation, and fibrosis by MRI. She is specifically interested in imaging metals to infer the role they play in cellular and tissue processes and the development of disease. She is a recipient of an NCI K22 career development award for her studies in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and the use of stimulated zinc flux in the exocrine pancreas as a noninvasive MRI biomarker of pancreatic cancer.
Abstract: Precision MRI of the Immunogenic Tumor Microenvironment as a Biomarker for Immunotherapy Response in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the most found malignant tumor in the pancreas with an overall 5-year survival rate of 11%. Treatment options for PDAC are limited, and surgical resection remains the only curative option albeit only attainable in 15-20% of cases due to diagnosis at an advanced stage. Therapies for patients with advanced disease are limited to chemotherapeutics and immunotherapy. However, despite the profound success with immunotherapy in other cancers, it is ineffective in PDAC largely due to the barriers introduced by the desmoplastic and immunosuppressive PDAC tumor microenvironment (TME). The TME is infiltrated by tumor-associated macrophages, and neutrophils (TANs) aiding in PDAC immune evasion. It was recently shown that suppression of TANs by Lorlatinib attenuate PDAC growth and improves immunotherapy response in mouse models. Recently, we developed a Fe-based MRI probe, FePyC3A, that becomes MRI visible in the presence of reactive-oxygen species (ROS) by oxidation of Fe2+ to Fe3+. We’ve established that FePyC3A-enhanced MRI can detect TANs in a mouse PDAC model and that their suppression by Lorlatinib treatment is measurable by FePyC3A-enhanced MRI. The primary hypothesis of this proposal is that noninvasive imaging of ROS activity in PDAC will predict response to treatment with anti-PD1 blockade.
Ronald G. Garcia, MD, PhD
Department of Psychiatry
Clinical Neuroscience Laboratory for Sex Differences in the Brain
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Garcia is a researcher at the Clinical Neuroscience Laboratory for Sex Differences in the Brain at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. His main research interests include the study of pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the frequent co-occurrence of major depression and cardiovascular disease, and the development and translation of novel interventions for the regulation of these alterations. Dr. Garcia received his medical degree from Universidad Industrial de Santander, Colombia; earned a Ph.D. degree in neuroscience from Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil, and completed his postdoctoral training in neuroimaging and neuromodulation with professors Jill M. Goldstein and Vitaly Napadow at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. His research has focused on the use of advanced neuroimaging and physiological tools for the evaluation of brain-heart interactions in depressed individuals and the development and optimization of non-invasive respiratory-gated vagus nerve stimulation as a potential neuromodulatory intervention for the regulation of sex-dependent alterations of brain circuitry responsible for mood, cardiac and vascular dysregulation in major depression. His long-term research goals include the clinical translation of this and other neuromodulation interventions for the treatment of psychiatric disorders and their comorbidity with cardio- and cerebrovascular disease.
Abstract: Effects of Transcutaneous Auricular Vagus Nerve Stimulation on the Regulation of Cerebrovascular Function in Midlife Adults with Recurrent Major Depression
Major depressive disorder (MDD) has been associated with a significantly increased risk for cerebrovascular disease and dementia. Although the mechanisms for this association are multifactorial, dysregulation of cerebrovascular function, characterized by blunted cerebrovascular reactivity and reduced cerebral blood flow, has been proposed as a main contributing factor for the development and progression of cerebrovascular disease and cognitive impairment in patients with MDD. Given the key role that these alterations may play in the development of debilitating conditions such as stroke and dementia, the evaluation of interventions that target mechanisms responsible for cerebrovascular dysregulation could have a significant impact in the reduction of disability associated with these disorders in patients with MDD. The primary goal of this study is to evaluate the effects of a novel, non-invasive neuromodulatory technique of the vagus nerve on the regulation of cerebrovascular function in MDD individuals. We will administer expiratory-gated transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation during a functional magnetic resonance imaging session and will evaluate sex-dependent effects of this intervention on the regulation of cerebrovascular reactivity, peripheral autonomic function, and inflammatory response of midlife adults with recurrent MDD. This initial pilot study will provide relevant information for the development of a sex-selective intervention with beneficial effects prior to later-life health outcomes associated with MDD.
Edmarie Guzmán-Vélez, PhD
Department of Psychiatry
Instructor, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Guzmán-Vélez is a neuropsychologist whose research focuses on elucidating non-pharmacological factors and mechanisms that can protect against the onset of cognitive symptoms associated with neurodegenerative disorders, particularly Alzheimer’s disease (AD). She is an Instructor at Harvard Medical School, a staff neuropsychologist at the Multicultural Assessment and Research Center, and a member of the Multicultural Alzheimer Prevention Program. She investigates cognitive tests and biofluid markers that are sensitive to early pathological changes in autosomal-dominant AD, and uses neuroimaging techniques to measure changes in functional neural systems in preclinical AD. Further, Dr. Guzmán-Vélez investigates whether physical activity and fitness predict slower disease progression in preclinical AD. She is also the principal investigator of a clinical trial examining the effect of Niagen on cognitive functioning and neuropsychiatric symptoms in Long-COVID, and the risk for dementia in Long-COVID. Dr. Guzmán-Vélez completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras, her doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Iowa, her clinical internship at the Boston VA, and postdoctoral fellowship at MGH. Dr. Guzmán-Vélez is also a strong advocate for increasing the representation of women and minorities in STEM and is the co-director of the Sagrado-MIT Neuroscience Precollege Program.
Abstract: Evaluating the Effect of Long-COVID on Brain Injury and Cognitive Functioning
Initially thought to be an acute illness, resulting in death for some or full recovery in most, we are now appreciating that substantial numbers of COVID-19 illness survivors, including young and generally healthy people, experience persistent, significant, and often debilitating symptoms for months or years, known as Long-COVID. Symptoms range from neurological (“brain fog”, headache) and neuropsychiatric (depression, poor sleep), to systemic symptoms (fatigue, pain). Symptoms, interfere with people’s quality of life and daily functioning. It is hypothesized that these individuals may be at greater risk for neurodegenerative disease and dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Yet, we do not understand why some people continue to experience cognitive difficulties and neurological symptoms, which are amongst the most common and debilitating Long-COVID symptoms, and what this means for their future brain health. This three-year study aims to elucidate whether people with Long-COVID, who have been experiencing “brain fog” and other symptoms for months after COVID-19 infection, may show evidence of inflammation and neural injury, as well as disrupted neural networks known to be important for memory and attention. Specifically, we will investigate, 1) the potential impact of Long-COVID on blood markers of neuroinflammation and neural injury and degeneration; 2) the potential impact of Long-COVID on the integrity of neural systems that underly cognitive functioning using resting-state functional connectivity; and 3) the relationship between markers of neuroinflammation and neural injury/degeneration and cognitive functioning in Long-COVID. Findings will enlighten our understanding of the impact of Long-COVID on the brain and its potential risk for future neurodegenerative disease, leading the way for better interventions and healthier aging.
Asishana A. Osho, MD, MPH
Department of Surgery, Division of Cardiac Surgery
Corrigan-Minehan Heart Center
Member of the Faculty of Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Osho is a surgeon in the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center at Massachusetts General Hospital who specializes in adult cardiac surgery, heart failure and thoracic transplantation. He earned a BA with high honors from Oberlin College, an MPH from the Yale University School of Public Health, and an MD from the Duke University School of Medicine. He completed residencies in general and cardiothoracic surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Dr. Osho conducts clinical, translational and health services research to understand and improve health outcomes in patients undergoing cardiothoracic surgery. He also has significant experience designing and implementing clinical trials in cardiothoracic surgery. Dr. Osho’s research projects have been supported by the American Heart Association, the Thoracic Surgery Foundation, and the Bollinger research program at Duke University.
Abstract: A Prospective Trial to reduce the impact of Atrial Fibrillation in Cardiac Surgery using a Standardized Pharmacosurgical approach and Wearable Biosensors
Atrial fibrillation is a type of irregular heart rhythm caused by uncoordinated electrical signaling in the heart. This condition occurs commonly after cardiac surgery and is associated with elevated risk of further complications including stroke, heart failure and death. Atrial fibrillation occurring after cardiac surgery – Postoperative Atrial Fibrillation – is poorly understood with gaps in the knowledge about optimal prevention, duration of disease and patterns of presentation. We propose to advance knowledge in the field by performing a prospective randomized study to compare the rate of postoperative atrial fibrillation in cardiac surgery patients who receive standard of care versus those who receive a combination of two preventative interventions. The interventions include a) administering amiodarone (a drug that regulates electrical signaling in the heart), and b) performing a procedure called a posterior pericardiotomy (which improves blood drainage and can reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation). Integration of data from wearable biosensors (Fitbit) placed on the wrists of study participants at the time of discharge will delineate the duration and characteristics of atrial fibrillation in discharged patients. Overall, this project innovates clinically and technologically to advance our understanding of a major cause of morbidity and mortality in cardiac surgery.
Jacqueline A. Seiglie, MD MSc
Endocrinologist, Endocrinology Division
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Fellow, Center for Global Health at Mass General
Dr. Seiglie is an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, a practicing endocrinologist and diabetologist, and a Global Health Fellow at MGH. Her research focuses on characterizing the epidemiology of type 2 diabetes in Hispanic populations, and on adapting and implementing evidence-based interventions that can improve diabetes self-care among Hispanic adults. Born and raised in Santiago, Chile, she has had a long-standing interest in working to improve diabetes care for Hispanic adults through clinical care and research. Her research program leverages collaborations domestically and abroad, with a regional focus on Latin America, and represents a new initiative within the MGH Endocrinology Division. Dr. Seiglie received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and her Master’s in Community Health and Welfare from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. She completed both her Internal Medicine residency and fellowship training in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at MGH. In addition to the CDI Physician-Scientist Development Award, her work is supported by a Harvard KL2/Catalyst Medical Research Investigator Training (CMeRIT) award. She was the inaugural recipient of the 2022 Martin Research Prize in Population Health Sciences research and is a past recipient of the NIH/NIDDK Loan Repayment Award and The John T. Potts Jr. Pilot Award Program.
Abstract: REACH-Es: A Culturally Tailored Adaptation of an mHealth Tool to Improve Diabetes Self-care Among Hispanic Adults
Non-adherence to diabetes medications is a leading contributor to suboptimal diabetes management among Hispanic adults, who are nearly twice as likely to have diabetes-related complications as non-Hispanic White individuals. Digital health technology can improve medication adherence and is recommended by the American Diabetes Association to support diabetes self-care. Text message-based mobile health (mHealth) platforms, in particular, have the potential to engage Hispanic adults, who are more likely to own a cellphone than non-Hispanic White individuals and who are less likely to use other digital health tools, such as patient portals and app-based platforms. Interactive text message-based mHealth platforms with personalized content are features associated with higher user engagement. An mHealth tool with these key features is REACH (Rapid Encouragement/Education And Communications for Health), a low-cost, interactive text messaging platform shown to improve diabetes medication adherence and hemoglobin A1c in an English-speaking, low-income population, while achieving a retention rate of over 90% at 12 months. REACH has not yet been adapted to a Spanish-speaking context and could be a suitable mHealth tool to improve diabetes medication adherence among Hispanic adults with type 2 diabetes. In this proposal, we will adapt REACH to a Hispanic population (REACH-Español) using community-engaged research and mixed-methods in preparation for a randomized pilot study that will assess the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of REACH-Es among Hispanic adults with type 2 diabetes and suboptimal diabetes management.
Mabel Toribio, MD
Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Toribio is an Endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Toribio’s research focuses on cardiometabolic disease risk in diverse patient populations. She has published on novel techniques to quantify arterial macrophage infiltration as well as on effects of statins on markers of immune activation and on the proteome among people with HIV. She has also published on the effects of newly initiated antiretroviral therapy on arterial inflammation and cholesterol efflux in this population. Her latest research investigates cardiometabolic effects of gender-affirming hormonal therapy among gender-diverse populations. Dr. Toribio is a past recipient of an individual NIH NRSA, a Harvard Catalyst KL2 Award, the Harvard University CFAR Developmental Core Grant, the MGH DOM Sanchez and Ferguson Research Faculty Award, and an MGH DOM COVID-19 Junior Investigator Support Initiative Grant. Dr. Toribio is also a current recipient of an NIH K23 Mentored Patient Oriented Career Development Award and an American Heart Association-Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In addition to her research endeavors, Dr. Toribio also is deeply invested in teaching, mentoring and recruiting trainees from under-represented backgrounds in medicine/science.
Abstract: ImmuNomodulatory EffectS of PCSK9 Inhibition: A TaRgeted Molecular Imaging AppRoach (INSPIRAR)
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) represents the leading cause of death worldwide. While medications, such as statins, significantly reduce atherosclerotic CVD (ASCVD) risk by lowering low density lipoprotein levels, they may also have pleiotropic effects on inflammation. The immunomodulatory effects of these medications are relevant to ASCVD risk reduction given that inflammation plays a central role in atherosclerotic plaque formation (atherogenesis) and influences the development of vulnerable plaque morphology. Patients on statins, however, may have residual inflammation contributing to incident ASCVD despite the potent LDL-lowering effects of statins. While new therapies, such as proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PSCK9) inhibitors, further reduce incident ASCVD and drastically reduce LDL-C below that achieved by statin therapy alone, PCSK9 inhibitors may also have pleiotropic effects on inflammation. Thus, PCSK9 inhibitors may help reduce arterial inflammation to a level closer to that of patients without ASCVD. This study will apply a novel targeted molecular imaging approach, technetium 99m (99mTc)-tilmanocept SPECT/CT, to determine if residual macrophage-specific arterial inflammation is present with statin therapy and the immunomodulatory effects of PSCK9 inhibition. Given the continued high mortality and morbidity attributable to ASCVD, strong imperatives exist to better understand the immunomodulatory effects of lipid lowering therapies and residual inflammatory risk. This understanding, in turn, will inform the development of new ASCVD preventative and treatment strategies as well as elucidate other indications for established therapies.