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 Cheryl Miller ( 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 Cheryl Miller ( to schedule a call with REACH Equity faculty.


Information for Applicants



  • Duke medical residents, fellows, postdoctoral students and nursing trainees with a research or health professional doctoral degree or its equivalent
  • Duke faculty research mentor

Application requirements

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

  • Background and rationale for project
  • Objectives and methods, including statistical plan
  • Relationship to REACH Equity theme
  • Anticipated next steps (future funding, intervention, etc.)
  • Timeline and funding period: One or two year project

In addition to 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, or 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 Voucher Program 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 6 month and final report of study progress/findings
  • In addition, REACH Equity voucher recipients 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
  5. Likelihood of completing project in allotted time period




  • Application opens: January 12, 2021
  • Application submission deadline: 5:00pm, March 15, 2021
  • Funding announcement:  Late May
  • Funding begins: July 2021


To Apply


Prior to beginning an application, please closely review the application requirements as detailed above.

The application deadline is 5:00pm, Monday, March 15.

The REACH Equity Award uses the Duke MyResearchProposal 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 “DOM” then select the “REACH Equity Research Scholars Development Program 2021” process/funding 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 or setting up an account, please contact or call 919-668-4774.