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Title: Research on Vulnerable Women, Children, and Families|
Marilyn S. Sommers; Co-Directors: Janet Deatrick and Loretta Jemmott
Agency: National Institute of Nursing Research, $2,624,190, T32NR007100
Project Period: July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2014

We are proposing a competitive renewal of the Institutional National Research Service Award at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (SON) for "Research Training to Promote Health in Vulnerable Populations." We will build on the successes from our first two award periods that include: 1) recruitment of more than 40% of our fellows from under-represented minorities; 2) recruitment of qualified fellows to all positions; 3) integration of fellows within the six research centers at the SON and within the University at large; 4) education of fellows that increased their research expertise regarding culturally-competent, theoretically-based, and developmentally-appropriate interventions. We are proposing an expanded research- training program based on the Derived Ecological Model of Determinants of Health Disparities related to Vulnerable Women, Children, and Families. The program builds on the maturation of existing SON scientists with funded programs of research in the area of community participatory research and capitalizes on the addition of scientists with expertise in bio-behavioral methods of inquiry. Specific aims are to train nurse scientists to: 1) study multi-system level factors that contribute to health disparities among vulnerable women, children, and families; 2) develop expertise in cutting-edge, culturally-appropriate, interdisciplinary research strategies with the potential to identify and reduce health disparities, with a particular focus on bio-behavioral, descriptive, and intervention methods; 3) collaborate with a diverse group of interdisciplinary scientists, community leaders, and anticipated beneficiaries of interventions in a mutually instructive fashion to promote health in vulnerable women, children, and families; 4) develop values, critical thinking, communication skills, and research expertise that address the power differentials that create, sustain, or augment health disparities in vulnerable populations. Three pre- and four post- doctoral trainees will be supported annually.  Our goal is for these trainees to contribute in sustainable ways to a critical mass of scholars whose lines of inquiry will illuminate, reduce, and eliminate health disparities in vulnerable women, children, and families. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Compelling evidence demonstrates that vulnerable populations have significant health problems. Trained scientists who can address these problems in novel ways are needed to eliminate health disparities.