Mentoring junior URM scientists to engage in sleep health disparities research: Experience of the NYU PRIDE Institute

Girardin Jean-Louis, Indu Ayappa, David Rapoport, Ferdinand Zizi, Collins Airhihenbuwa, Kola Okuyemi, Gbenga Ogedegbe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate the National Institute of Health (NIH)-funded PRIDE Institute in Behavioral Medicine and Sleep Disorders Research at New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center. The NYU PRIDE Institute provides intensive didactic and mentored research training to junior underrepresented minority (URM) faculty. Method: The Kirkpatrick model, a mixed-methods program evaluation tool, was used to gather data on participant's satisfaction and program outcomes. Quantitative evaluation data were obtained from all 29 mentees using the PRIDE REDcap-based evaluation tool. In addition, in-depth interviews and focus groups were conducted with 17 mentees to learn about their experiences at the institute and their professional development activities. Quantitative data were examined, and emerging themes from in-depth interviews and focus groups were studied for patterns of connection and grouped into broader categories based on grounded theory. Results: Overall, mentees rated all programmatic and mentoring aspects of the NYU PRIDE Institute very highly (80-100%). They identified the following areas as critical to their development: research and professional skills, mentorship, structured support and accountability, peer support, and continuous career development beyond the summer institute. Indicators of academic self-efficacy showed substantial improvement over time. Areas for improvement included tailoring programmatic activities to individual needs, greater assistance with publications, and identifying local mentors when K awards are sought. Conclusions: In order to promote career development, numerous factors that uniquely influence URM investigators' ability to succeed should be addressed. The NYU PRIDE Institute, which provides exposure to a well-resourced academic environment, leadership, didactic skills building, and intensive individualized mentorship proved successful in enabling URM mentees to excel in the academic environment. Overall, the institute accomplished its goals: to build an infrastructure enabling junior URM faculty to network with one another as well as with senior investigators, serving as a role model, in a supportive academic environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-117
Number of pages10
JournalSleep Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Participation in the institute also led to important behavior changes. This is perhaps most notable in the desire to focus on a particular health disparity problem, to succeed in conducting academic research, and to serve as mentors to other junior URM scientists. According to mentees, the dedication of the PRIDE staff created an atmosphere of trust that made it easy for them to accept feedback and guidance. One scholar sums it up this way: “In this program, I get feedback from people I know and trust. It forces me to go back and improve.” In-depth interview data showed positive changes in their confidence to succeed in academia and make a difference in their own community. Furthermore, data from all aspects of the institute showed enormous impact of training and mentoring mentees received as observed in improved self-efficacy ( Fig. 5 ), which may have led to the development of innovative research ideas and increases in peer-reviewed publications, submitted/funded proposals, and academic promotions. Unfortunately, the direct link between self-efficacy and academic success could not be established because of inadequate power and insufficient time to assess adequately the full impact of the training institute for all mentees, as a minimum of two years is required to make that determination [18] . We believe that exposure to the PRIDE Institute enables junior URM faculty to develop important research and leadership skills to compete nationally for funding to support their academic career. Although benefits of participating in the PRIDE Institute could not be fully ascertained, it seems evident that they would be substantial judging from initial success by the advanced scholars (Cohort I). We also expect that others would also demonstrate their ability to obtain external funding to support their research as they gain greater self-efficacy over time [30,31] . Future studies are warranted to assess whether the pressure of securing tenure and promotion, commonly experienced by junior scholars, may have also played a motivating role in increased academic success measured in terms of number of grants and peer-reviewed papers.

Funding Information:
This research was supported by funding from the NHLBI (R25HL105444). The authors thank the PRIDE mentors and speakers who have contributed to the development and implementation of the PRIDE curriculum and who have held summer workshops and seminars. They also thank all the mentees who have provided valuable feedback and evaluation data enabling constant refining of the curriculum, leading to improvement in all PRIDE programmatic components.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015.


  • Behavioral medicine
  • Mentorship
  • Sleep
  • Training
  • Workforce diversity


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