New program at UK supports minority health equity researchers

Members of the DREAM Center in 2015

The new DREAM Scholars Program at the University of Kentucky, which aims to train the next generation of multidisciplinary health equity researchers, is now accepting applications for its first cohort of Scholars and Associates. DREAM, which stands for Disparities Researchers Equalizing Access for Minorities (DREAM), focuses particularly on supporting researchers from groups that are underrepresented in science and/or from rural backgrounds. Applications are due Aug. 1.

The two-year program will provide career development support and a solid foundation in human subjects research, with an emphasis on health equity research methods such as community-based participatory research, dissemination and implementation science. Health equity means that everyone has the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible, regardless of social position or other circumstances.

Why the program started

The DREAM Scholars Program was founded in the University of Kentucky College of Nursing by former assistant professor Jenna Hatcher, now at the University of Arizona, with this goal: to mentor and foster the scholarly productivity of predoctoral candidates and others interested in health equity research. The College of Nursing is now partnering with the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science and the UK Center for Health Equity Transformation to expand and formalize the successful program.

Lovoria Williams, associate professor in the College of Nursing and co-director of integrated special populations for the CCTS, explains that a diverse field of researchers conducting scientific inquiries from their unique, lived experiences can drive health equity science forward.

“According to US Census data, by 2044 whites will no longer comprise a racial majority in the United States,” Williams said. “Due to multiple social determinants of health and other factors, racial/ethnic minority and sexual/gender minority populations suffer a disproportionate burden of health inequities. The purpose of the DREAM Scholars Program is to prepare a cadre of multidisciplinary scientists from diverse backgrounds who will develop innovative approaches to eliminate health inequities.”

Who can apply

Assistant professors, postdoctoral fellows and predoctoral candidates are eligible to apply. Five scholars and five associates will be selected through a competitive process. The five scholars will receive up to $5,000 in pilot funding during the two-year program ($2,500 yearly) and up to $3,000 of travel funds to attend or present at a national research or career development conference.

DREAM Scholars and associates will be required to participate in research and career development seminars twice monthly, where they will also have opportunities to present chalk talks and works in progress. Scholars and associates will attend an annual two-day writing retreat as well. Scholars will be expected to produce scholarly products, such as abstracts, manuscripts and grant submissions.

For questions, contact Lovoria Williams at or 859-323-5579.


This content was produced by UK HealthCare Brand Strategy.

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