Medical Student and Nursing Student Research Awards Program

REACH Equity will not be having applications for this funding award for 2024. 


REACH Equity Medical Student and Nursing Student Research Awards Program is intended to support a third-year medical student or a third-year PhD nursing student interested in conducting health disparities research broadly related to the REACH Equity theme.  The Center’s theme is to address racial and ethnic disparities in health by developing and testing interventions that improve the quality of patient-centered care in the clinical encounter. 

Students work with a faculty mentor to develop a research proposal and complete a project over one year.  While students may select any faculty member who is an approved mentor, students who have questions or need help with identifying a mentor may email to schedule a meeting with REACH Equity faculty.

In general, we expect proposed research projects to be small in scope and to make use of the expertise and resources of faculty mentor (chosen by applicant). Proposals may include any research method (quantitative, qualitative, etc.), diagnosis, clinical setting, stage of illness, or age group.  However, the proposed research should clearly focus on issues related to addressing racial and ethnic disparities or improving the health of minoritized racial and ethnic populations in the clinical setting. Please visit the REACH Equity website to review Center’s Conceptual Model and for more information about funded projects.

We plan to fund one award of $5,000 for one year. Proposals may include expansion of ongoing or currently funded work of the mentor or small stand-alone project.

Examples of responsive proposals include but are not limited to:

  • Addition of an aim to a current project which focuses on issues related to REACH Equity theme - see above
  • Small primary data collection project (e.g., a survey of patients and providers related to addressing racial disparities or improving health of minoritized racial and ethnic populations in the clinical setting; a chart review to identify factors related to disparities in outcomes)
  • Secondary data analyses related to addressing racial and ethnic health disparities in the clinical setting
  • Analyses of Duke Health System or other data to explore causes and solutions of racial/ethnic disparities in the clinical encounter

If you have questions about these awards or about the alignment of your research question with the RFA, please email to schedule a call with REACH Equity faculty.

For a list of our previous cohorts and their projects, please visit this page. 

Information for Applicants


  • Duke medical student or Duke PhD nursing student in third year at start of award (July 2023)
  • Must have a Duke faculty research mentor

Application Requirements

Applications should be no more than 3 pages in length for proposal (excluding CV and other application requirements listed below) and include:

  • Background and rationale for the project
  • Objectives and methods, including statistical plan
  • Relationship to REACH Equity theme
  • Anticipated next steps (future funding, intervention, etc.)
  • Timeline for completion of proposed research

In addition to the research proposal, other application requirements (not included in 3-page limit):

  • Budget of up to $5,000 and narrative justification for each budget item. Funds may be used for research personnel, research supplies, statistical support, travel. Submit on PHS Budget Form 2590, Form Page 2 and 3 – available here:
  • Applicant’s CV
  • Letter of support from the applicant’s mentor
  • Mentor’s Biosketch

Additional Requirements and Opportunities for Funded Applications

Applicants who are funded as part of REACH Equity Medical Student and Nursing Student Research Award are expected to:

  • Participate in REACH Equity activities to the extent possible—Research Works in Progress (RWIP) seminars, REACH Equity annual colloquium
  • Present findings of research (RWIP or annual colloquium or retreat)
  • Provide a final report of study progress/findings
  • In addition, awardees are invited to participate in the Health Disparities Research Curriculum

Review criteria:

  1. Strength of the candidate and his/her potential for future health disparities research
  2. Strength of the proposal/ quality of research plan
  3. Relationship to REACH Equity theme
  4. Strength of the letter of support and commitment from mentor

Likelihood of completing project in allotted time period


  • Application opens: January 23, 2023
  • Application submission deadline: March 17, 2023 5:00pm,
  • Funding announcement: Late May 2023
  • Funding begins: July 2023

To Apply

REACH Equity uses My Research Proposal online application submission platform.

To apply, visit, click on "Create New User" (or log in if you have an account). Proposals must be submitted under the Principal Investigator's name.

Enter Access Code "REACH" then select the "REACH Equity Medical Student Research Award Program" opportunity and follow the instructions.

  • A step-by-step user’s guide for applying via the MyResearchProposal platform is available here.
  • For questions concerning MyResearchProposal, please contact or call 919-668-4774.