Learning Collaborative Update: Funding Opportunities, News, and Events


From the National Program Office

Two years ago, Urban Universities for HEALTH published a landmark study on the use of holistic review in the health professions. Holistic review is an evidence-based strategy that assesses an applicant’s unique experiences alongside traditional measures of academic achievement such as grades and test scores. The practice is widespread in medicine and dentistry, but less than half of nursing schools participating in the study said they used holistic review.

To address this gap, UU-HEALTH collaborated with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to develop tools and training for nursing deans to support implementation of holistic review on their campuses. We are pleased to announce the launch of an online knowledge base of resources for holistic review in nursing. The knowledge base is hosted on the AACN website and contains co-designed resources including sample essay questions and screening rubrics, legal guidelines, best practices, and case studies.  Please feel free to use the knowledge base and share it with your colleagues.

Funding Opportunities

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) at NIH is soliciting grant applications to support efforts to provide health information to health disparity populations and their health care providers. Letters of intent are due November 16, with a full proposal due December 16.

The Kresge Foundation is accepting proposals for Innovative Public Health Programs and Policies. The Foundation encourages proposals that employ new methods of shared accountability for improving population health, and that share and use data from multiple sectors to inform strategies, measure progress and refine interventions. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The NIH has released a number of FOAs related to health disparities including: Behavioral and Social Science Research on Understanding and Reducing Health Disparities (R01), NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Enhancing Diversity in Biomedical Data Science (R25), and the Mentored Research Scientist Development Award to Promote Diversity (K01), (K08), and (K23).


The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) announced last month that it will launch two transdisciplinary collaborative centers to study and address the impact of social determinants of health on health disparities. In a statement, the director of the NIMHD, Dr. Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, said that “multilevel interventions that take into account complex interactions between individuals and their environments can better address determinants of health and enhance chronic disease prevention and health promotion for local communities.”

Dr. Erik Porfeli from Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) was quoted in an article on the growing number of health professions graduates who choose to remain in the area, bolstering the health care workforce in local communities. The university’s successful pipeline programs have expanded the number of local students who enter health careers, and approximately 50 percent of NEOMED graduates stay and practice in state.

The University of New Mexico reports that it awarded a record number of degrees last year despite declining enrollment, with its four-year graduation rate exceeding 20 percent for the first time in years. The university attributes its success to changes in credit requirements, engagement of faculty in student success, and increased investment in student services.

Campus climate has taken center stage in higher education news this month, primarily in response to the University of Chicago’s letter to new students warning them not to expect safe spaces or trigger warnings.  While some university leaders applauded the University of Chicago’s alleged commitment to free speech, others questioned the wisdom of such a decision in the wake of student protests and demands for a more inclusive climate. Some example approaches for making campus climate more inclusive included setting a diversity agenda at the highest levels of leadership, and integrating diversity training across the curriculum (as opposed to holding “one-off” trainings during orientation).

Greer Glazer, PhD, dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing, has been named one of the 30 Most Influential Deans of Nursing in the United States. Former University of Cincinnati president Santa J. Ono, now president of the University of British Columbia, was named as a recipient of the 2016 National Association of Asian American Professionals award.


Valerie Pierre, a fourth-year medical student at Howard University, authored a perspective piece for Urban University on using holistic review in admissions to build a diverse and prepared health care workforce.

APLU President Peter McPherson penned an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times urging university leaders to renew their focus on degree completion as a measure of institutional success.

Upcoming Events

Join the AAMC’s Advancing Holistic Review Initiative on Thursday, September 8, 1:30-2:30 p.m. Eastern Time for a free webinar on data-driven admissions. Experts will illustrate the link between admissions and institutional mission, and demonstrate how medical schools are using data to continually inform and improve their admissions process.

The National Collaborative for Health Equity is sponsoring a two-part webinar series called “Beyond Bias.” Part 1, to be held on Thursday, September 8, 2:00-3:30 p.m. Eastern Time, will examine the science of implicit bias. Part 2, to be held on Thursday, September 15, 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time, will discuss strategies for reducing implicit bias and stereotype threat.

The AAMC Research on Care Community Health Equity (ROCChe) subgroup will host a webinar on Tuesday, September 14, 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time to highlight efforts by the NIH to increase diversity within the biomedical research workforce. Jamboor Vishwanatha, PhD, University of North Texas Health Science Center, and Keith Norris, MD, PhD, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, will discuss the work of the BUILD (Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity) initiative and the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN).

The AAMC and APLU annual meetings will be held on the same weekend this year, so you may have to choose which one to attend – or plan your travel carefully! The AAMC’s Learn Serve Lead 2016 will be held in Seattle, WA on November 11-15, and the APLU Annual Meeting will be held in Austin, TX on November 13-15.

Publications and Resources

Increasing Diversity in the Biomedical Research Workforce: Actions for Improving Evidence examines university diversity strategies and proposes research actions for improving the quality of evidence to support effective practices –and help university leaders eliminate practices that don’t work well. The APLU-USU-AAMC joint publication was developed by an interdisciplinary team of 70 research experts at 28 universities, and was supported by the NIH Office of Scientific Workforce Diversity.

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s interactive website Where Does Your Freshman Class Come From is a useful and easy-to-navigate resource for institutions seeking to attract more local students.

Click here to have our e-newsletter delivered to your inbox.