Career Development Award Program

We will not be sending out an RFA announcement for this funding award for the 2023-2025 cycle at this time.

The Duke Center for Research to Advance Healthcare Equity is seeking applications for an internal mentored research career development award (CDA) for Duke University junior faculty proposing research related to the REACH Equity Center theme. The REACH Equity theme is addressing racial and ethnic disparities in health by developing and testing interventions that improve the quality of patient-centered care in the clinical encounter. Applicants for the REACH Equity CDA must propose research broadly related to this theme.

Although our focus is on intervention, we recognize that the development and testing of an intervention may be beyond the readiness of the science or applicant and/or beyond the scope of this award mechanism. Therefore, proposals may employ any research method as long as the research addresses disparities in patient-centered care in the clinical encounter and will clearly lead to the development and testing of an intervention.

We plan to fund up to three REACH Equity CDAs. Consistent with our Center’s goal of increasing diversity in the research workforce, we have set as a programmatic priority the selection of at least 50% of awardees from under-represented racial and ethnic groups. Eligible applicants include junior faculty (instructor, assistant professor) and those transitioning to faculty as of the funding start date of October 2022. Applicants may have appointments in any department or school at Duke University.

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to meet with the REACH Equity Investigator Development Core Co-Directors Laura Svetkey and Bryan Batch, and Center Director Kimberly Johnson, pending availability, to receive input on aligning their proposal with the REACH Equity theme. Applicants will send background and aims for their proposed project to review in advance of this meeting. Slots are available for the weeks of July 18 and July 25. To schedule an appointment, please contact Tia Mitchell,

The REACH Equity CDA provides up to $75,000 direct costs per year for two years. Applicants are expected to use the award to protect at least 50% of Total Professional Effort (TPE).

About the Program

Purpose of Award
To reduce disparities in health, we must have a research workforce engaged and skilled in the conduct of health disparities research. REACH Equity will contribute to that pipeline by providing career development support to early-stage investigators proposing rigorous research that will ultimately lead to interventions which address the REACH Equity Theme. Projects should result in preliminary data for competitive next-step grants. The career development component of this award will include participation in REACH Equity activities, such as a core Health Disparities Research Curriculum, research-works-in-progress (RWIP) seminar series, and an annual disparities research colloquium. Early-stage investigators will be invited under the Center’s “umbrella” of collaboration, fellowship, and supplemental mentorship.

Research Proposal
Applicants must propose original research that is broadly related to the REACH Equity theme.

Responsive Proposals will:

  1. Seek to improve minority health or reduce racial and/or ethnic disparities in health/healthcare. Although all minority groups defined by NIH are eligible, regional demographics suggest that adequate power and greatest health impact will be achieved by focusing on Blacks/African Americans and/or Latinos/Hispanics.
  2. Include any diagnosis, stage of illness, age group, or clinical setting; international projects are ineligible.
  3. Employ any research method to address a question relevant to enhancing minority health or reducing racial/ethnic disparities by improving the quality of patient-centered care in the clinical encounter. We define the clinical encounter as interactions between patients and/or caregivers and any member or members of the healthcare team (or healthcare system) in any healthcare setting.
  4. REACH Equity’s theme focuses on developing and testing interventions to reduce disparities in the clinical encounter. For this award, we recognize that the actual development and testing of an intervention may be beyond the readiness of the science or applicant and/or beyond the scope of this award mechanism. However, all proposals should clearly articulate a potential future path to intervention development and testing (by the applicant or others in future study) based on findings of proposed REACH Equity award.

In developing the research proposal, applicants should consult the REACH Conceptual Model as well as this REACH Table that shows potential research examples related to REACH Equity’s Conceptual Model (both are downloadable .pdf files). Both the Conceptual Model and the Table provide information on targets for intervention and outcomes of interest; however, these examples are meant to be illustrative only, and do not define the full range of potentially responsive projects.

Projects funded in the previous cycle(s) can be found here. Applicants should note that in prior cycles, we required proposals that directly develop and (pilot-)test interventions; as noted above, that requirement has been changed to allow a broader range of proposals.

For other examples of research consistent with the REACH Equity theme, please see descriptions below of the three R0-1 level research projects currently supported by the Center. All projects include the Interpersonal Processes of Care Survey as one of its outcome measures.

Research Project 1: Development and pilot testing of an implicit bias training intervention for providers to advance equity in healthcare

Research Project 2: The effect of a clinician communication coaching intervention on racial disparities in the quality of communication in clinical encounters

Research Project 3: The effect of a needs-targeted intervention on racial disparities in unmet needs of patients and families in the intensive care unit

We recognize that the REACH Equity approach may be a new direction for many applicants and their mentors. Therefore, potential applicants are strongly encouraged to meet with the IDC Director (Laura Svetkey, MD) and REACH Equity Director (Kimberly Johnson, MD) to get input on aligning their proposal with the REACH Equity theme. To schedule a meeting, please contact Tia Mitchell,

Information for Applicants
Applicants must be junior faculty (instructor, assistant professor) and those transitioning to faculty as of the funding start date. Applicants may have appointments in any department or school at Duke University. For additional information, please review the About the Program section above.


  1. Mentored career development award
  2. Up to $75,000 direct costs per year for two years
    • At least 50% total professional effort (TPE) devoted to the proposed project and career development activities
    • Funds may be used for research support: salary for research personnel, supplies, travel, and career development

PLEASE NOTE: For the REACH Equity award, you must commit to 50% protected time, but this effort does not have to be covered entirely by the award. The REACH Equity project must constitute at least 50% of your time, but some of that effort can be paid for from another source other than the REACH Equity award. If your effort support from REACH Equity costs less than $75,000 (either due to a salary <$150k or some effort support for the REACH Equity project provided from another source), the remaining award funds can be used for research personnel, supplies, travel, and career development. If your REACH Equity budget includes <50% effort support, you must provide evidence (e.g., letter from supervisor) that your total protected time for the REACH Equity research and career development activities will add up to at least 50% of your total effort.


  1. Research or health-professional doctoral degree or its equivalent. Also eligible: PhD in related fields.
  2. Instructor or Assistant Professor appointment at Duke University. Fellows or postdocs may apply if they will have a faculty appointment at the start of the award.
  3. You may not have current funding for an internal or external career development award or be PI on an R01 or equivalent. Funding from any other source may be acceptable as long as the research proposed for REACH Equity is distinct, and you will be able to devote at least 50% effort to it.
  4. You may submit an application even if you have an internal or external K under review.
  5. You may submit an application in multiple cycles; although you will want to consider the input from prior review(s), each application will be considered a new proposal (i.e., not a resubmission).

Other requirements and support
REACH Equity is committed to helping junior investigators build successful careers in health disparities research. As such, the Center will provide additional mentorship, and REACH Equity CDA awardees will participate in a number of activities that will bolster the success of their research and career development. Applicants should include a statement of commitment to the following:

  1. Participation in REACH Equity- and CTSA-sponsored Health Disparities Research Curriculum
  2. Participation in training in community-engaged research through the REACH Equity Community Engagement and Dissemination Core
  3. Participation in REACH Equity CDA REACH Equity IDC Career Development Seminar Series
  4. Participation in activities of the REACH Equity Center, including twice-monthly Research Works in Progress (RWIP) seminar and annual Disparities Research Colloquium
  5. Consult with the REACH Equity Methods, Measures and Analysis sub-core for input on final study design, analytic and measurement methods, and to ensure rigor and reproducibility in research conduct
  6. A presentation to the REACH Equity Stakeholder Advisory Board at least annually

Application requirements
Your application must include a research and career development plan (limit: 5 pages excluding Specific Aims, Letters of Recommendation, and other required additional application materials listed below):

Total 5-page limit for the following:

Research Plan:

  1. Background and Significance
  2. Description of the specific health disparities or minority health issue that your work will address
  3. Design, methods, and analysis plan
  4. Description of how the proposed project addresses the REACH Equity theme

Career Development Plan:

  1. Description of the candidate, prior training, research accomplishments, and interest in disparities research
  2. Description of primary mentor and mentorship team
  3. Mentorship plan, including individualized training and commitment to participating in REACH Equity training components (see #6)
  4. Skill development that is specific for your research agenda
  5. Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research
  6. Commitment to participate in REACH Equity-sponsored Health Disparities Research Curriculum, Research Works in Progress seminars, annual Disparities Research Colloquium, IDC Career Development Seminar Series – see Other Requirements above
  7. Participation in other career development activities as appropriate (K-club/Path to Independence, LEADER Program, etc.)
  8. Plan for submitting next-step funding application
  9. Detailed timeline of research and didactic activities

Required additional application materials (excluded from the 5-page limit):

  1. Candidate NIH Biosketch.
  2. Proposed primary mentor NIH Biosketch.
  3. Letter of recommendation from your proposed primary mentor indicating his/her willingness to devote sufficient time and energy to serve in this capacity. This letter should include a specific and detailed mentoring plan, including how frequently the mentor will meet with you.
  4. Three letters of recommendation:
    • Letter signed by supervisor (Department Chair, Division Chief, Center Director, or Dean, as appropriate). This letter must include approval of a plan for protecting at least 50% of your total professional effort for each of the two years of REACH Equity funding. This letter should come from the person who is authorized to commit to protected time for this award. When appropriate (e.g., joint appointment), applicants must provide a letter from each individual who is in a position to commit to protected time. If you are a senior research fellow, this letter must also provide assurance that you will have received a faculty appointment by the start of the REACH Equity appointment.
    • Letter of recommendation from your proposed primary mentor indicating his/her willingness to devote sufficient time and energy to serve in this capacity. This letter should include a specific and detailed mentoring plan, including how frequently the mentor will meet with you.
    • Letter of recommendation from someone who can speak to your potential for a career as an independent investigator with a focus on health disparities.
  5. Budget and justification
    • Total available: Up to $75,000/year direct costs per year for two years.
    • Non-School of Medicine candidates should contact REACH Equity program leadership to discuss support available if they receive the award.
    • At least 50% Total Professional Effort (TPE) support. Funds for effort support may come from another source – see above. The required Time Commitment form is available
    • Remaining funds may be used for personnel, research supplies, travel, or career development.
    • We strongly recommend working with your departmental grants administrator to prepare your budget, cost sharing/Time Commitment form for both years of the award.
    • Submit annual budgets for Years 1 and 2 on NIH PHS 398 budget forms and justification for each budget item. Year 1 form is available here. Year 2 form is available here. Note: budget forms and letters of recommendation are not included in page limits.
    • Time Commitment form available here: REACH_Time_Commitment_form
  6. If you have published papers, include citations of up to three that you consider are most representative of your research goals and potential. Please include disparities research publications if possible.

Review criteria

  1. Strength of the candidate and his/her potential to transition to independent research
  2. Scientific and mentoring track record of the mentor
  3. Strong research plan that addresses the Center’s theme and is likely to lead to subsequent scientific and funding success
  4. Adequate career development plan that will prepare candidate to do proposed project and future research


Key dates

  • Application opens: July 11, 2022
  • Application deadline: Friday, August 19, 2022
  • Anticipated announcement of awards: September 22, 2022
  • Funding begins: October 2022

To Apply
Prior to beginning an application, please closely review the application requirements above.

The application deadline is Friday, August 19, 2022.

The REACH Equity Award uses the MyResearchProposal online submission system:

To apply, visit, click on “Create New User” (or log in if you have an account).

Enter Access Code “DOM” then select the “REACH Equity Investigator Development Award 2022” funding opportunity and follow the instructions.

  • A step-by-step user’s guide for applying via the Duke CTSI MyResearchProposal platform is available – Please review the guide here: MRP_Applic Instrucs
  • For questions concerning MyResearchProposal, please contact or call 919-668-4774. Please do not contact REACH Equity for questions about using the MRP platform.

For questions about the REACH Equity career development award, please contact:

Program Coordinator:
Tia Mitchell:

Program Co-directors:
Bryan Batch:
Laura Svetkey: