Research Scholars Development Program



The theme for the Duke Center for Research to Advance Healthcare Equity 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 – a setting in which racial and ethnic disparities are well-documented.

REACH Equity Research Scholars Development Program is intended to support early-stage investigators (trainees, postdoctoral students) who are interested in conducting health disparities research.

Scholars work with a faculty mentor (identified by the trainee) to develop a research proposal and complete a project over one or two years. While in general, we expect that scholars will identify a faculty mentor based on their area of interest or current/ongoing mentoring relationship, applicants may contact Tia Mitchell ( to speak to REACH Equity Center staff about identifying a mentor if needed.

In addition to the research, scholars have the opportunity to participate in REACH Equity research education and training activities to the extent possible, including the Health Disparities Research Curriculum, the Research Works in Progress (RWIP) seminar series, and other interdisciplinary programs designed to enhance skills, collaborations, and networking.

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.) and may include any 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 health of underrepresented racial and ethnic populations by impacting the clinical setting.

We plan to fund awards of up to $5,000 each for a one or two year project (project length proposed by applicant based on project needs). 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 or qualitative interviews of patients and providers related to racial disparities or underrepresented racial and ethnic populations health in the clinical setting; a chart review to identify factors related to disparities in outcomes)
  • Secondary data analyses related to health disparities or underrepresented racial and ethnic populations health in the clinical setting
  • Analyses of Duke Health System data to explore causes and solutions of racial/ethnic disparities in the clinical encounter
  • Pilot testing of a Maestro application or other intervention to address racial/ethnic disparities in the clinical encounter

In developing the research proposal, applicants are strongly advised to consult the REACH Equity conceptual model here: REACH Conceptual Model. In addition, the REACH Table  shows research examples related to REACH Equity’s conceptual model.

Both the REACH Conceptual Model and the REACH 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.

In addition, while informative, many of the examples as described in the Table will exceed the size and scope of projects funded under this RFA. Click here for more information about currently funded REACH Equity projects.

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