New Connections: Offering Grants, Opportunities, and a Dynamic Network

Jun 12, 2014, 1:00 PM, Posted by

Catherine Malone, DBA, MBA, is a program associate working with the Disparities Portfolio at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).  

I am so excited to share this infographic for New Connections: Increasing Diversity of RWJF Programming, which illustrates the grants component of the program and its impact. New Connections provides research grants and career development opportunities for researchers of diverse backgrounds, while expanding the perspectives that inform Robert Wood Johnson Foundation programming. To date, 115 scholars, spanning seven cohorts, have received research grants coupled with services related to career development through the program. These scholars are junior investigators and mid-career professionals from low-income communities, groups that have been historically underrepresented in research disciplines, and those who are the first in their families to graduate college.

But that is just part of the program. What makes New Connections so unique is the program’s diverse network of more than 1,300 scholars—which includes grantees and alumni, in addition to 1,200 scholars who have not received grant funding through the program. The New Connections Network includes scholars who are eligible for the program and have either (1) applied for a grant and/or (2) participated in one of the career development activities offered by New Connections, such as a major training event, regional meeting, or webinar. The Network’s career development opportunities include methodological training, manuscript and grant writing workshops, and leadership development coaching. 

The program also offers Network members the chance to connect with their colleagues from across the country at an Annual Symposium, as well as through virtual sessions offered throughout the year. Members can meet and collaborate with other researchers who share their research interests. In fact, many of these researchers are exploring critical issues aimed at reducing health disparities.

The Network members also have faced challenges coming from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds. Being a first generation college graduate and recently completing the doctoral journey myself, I place a high value on the opportunity to connect with and learn from colleagues who have taken a parallel path and tackled similar obstacles.

New Connections grantees, alumni, and network members: Thank you for all that you do to build a Culture of Health in America!

New Connections: Increasing Diversity of RWJF Programming

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.