2022-2023 COMMUNITY-ENGAGED RESEARCH PILOT (CERP) GRANT FUNDING OPPORTUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT

The mission of the Mountain West CTR-IN Program is to increase and enhance clinical and translational research capacity and facilitate extramural funding success among investigators with faculty appointments at the 12 university partners.

Key Dates:

Final day for submission of Nominating Packets by Institution partners* December 8, 2021
Invitations to investigators to submit full applications will be issued by December 15, 2021
Application Due Date March 16, 2022
Announcement of applications selected for Intent to Fund May 9, 2022
Earliest Start Date** July 15, 2022
Project Period** July 15, 2022 – June 30, 2023
  • The limited competition nomination process will be determined by each institution; earlier internal deadlines may apply.

** Actual start date will be dependent upon receipt of approval from NIGMS.

Purpose. In the past nine years, CTR-IN has funded several community-engaged projects. The purpose of this funding opportunity is to increase the number of community-engaged pilot projects across the CTR-IN network. This funding opportunity is particularly directed towards faculty who have already established relationships with community partners to engage in research with those communities. The goal of this community-engaged project is to generate key preliminary data and evidence of robust community-engaged research to support and inform a competitive “R-level” grant application to NIH or other extramural funding sources. Projects must involve community-engaged human subjects research; we do not support pre-clinical research.

Webinar. We will have a webinar for details about this year’s funding mechanisms. The live webinar will be held on October 6th at 2:00 PM Mountain Time. The link to join the webinar is: https://umontana.zoom.us/j/96949365286?pwd=ZnVpTXNXaittTUpMRGphU1JkUCtSdz09. If you cannot join the webinar live, but would like to view the webinar, you can access the recording as well as funding opportunity FAQS here: https://umt.box.com/s/csemdrw0qr3diryq7ibv76fxln8dyjqo.

PROGRAMMATIC PRIORITIES

Working in conjunction with our three Regional Community Advisory Boards (CABs) representing all seven Mountain West states, we solicited input on funding priorities for the communities we serve. The following specific themes were consistently identified across all CABs:

  • Childhood obesity and metabolic conditions including diabetes and other related factors of food security, food sovereignty, and healthy food access.
  • Opioid and other substance abuse, mental health / suicide prevention and psycho-social trauma.
  • COVID-19, including impacts to healthcare access, associated influences on mental health, and disproportionate impacts to vulnerable populations.

We recognize that the above areas of health disparities research do not capture all important health priorities in all of the communities that we serve, and our funding determinations are not limited to these above topics. Research must include a focus on one or more NIH-designated populations who experience health disparities in the United States, which include racial and ethnic minority groups (Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders), socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, sexual and gender minorities, and underserved rural populations. We also anticipate that these programmatic priorities will be revised and updated in forthcoming years as we continue to receive input from our regional stakeholders. All applications will undergo the same scientific merit review per standard NIH procedures, regardless of the topic area.

Principal Investigator (PI) Eligibility. The PI must 1) have a faculty-level appointment with a minimum of 0.5 FTE support at a participating CTR-IN Institution; 2) be eligible to submit extramural grant applications from their institution as a PI; and 3) have an established community partnership that is focused on the pilot project topic. The PI must devote at least 20% effort (2.4 person months) to the project. Prior CTR-IN awardees are eligible to apply, but they must be in good standing (i.e., submission of requested progress reports and updates). Per IDeA program policy, an awardee may not concurrently receive funding for their research program through other IDeA mechanisms (e.g., CTR, COBRE or INBRE).

Direct Costs: $60,000

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

STEP ONE: Limited competition nomination of applicants from eligible institutions:

Applicants must be nominated by their institution and subsequently invited by MW CTR-IN Program to submit a full application. Potential applicants must contact their local MW CTR-IN Concierge and / or Vice President for Research (VPR) Office for instructions on the internal nominating process. Each partner institution may nominate up to a maximum of five applicants.

Nominating Packets must include the following for each applicant:

  • An NIH format Biographical Sketch for the proposed PI.
  • An NIH format Other Support document for the proposed PI.
  • A summary of the proposed research of not more than one page with sufficient detail to establish that the community-engaged research is clinical and / or translational.
  • A letter of support signed by an appropriate institutional official committing to provide support for half of the requested PI effort if the project is awarded.
  • A letter of support from the community partner demonstrating an established relationship with the PI. The community partner must have worked directly and regularly with the participating community.

 

STEP TWO: Invitation to submit grant application: Nominating Packets will undergo administrative review by MW CTR-IN Program to ensure that they are responsive to the respective funding opportunity. OSP representatives will be notified of any nominations that are found to be non-responsive. A Nominating Packet that is determined to be non-responsive may be replaced with another while the Nomination phase is open. Thus, early submission of Nominating Packets is encouraged in order to allow adequate time to prepare a replacement nomination where applicable. Applicants with approved Nominating Packets will be invited to submit a full application.

 

STEP THREE: Full application: Detailed application instructions will be provided to applicants that are invited to submit full applications. At that time, applicants will also automatically have “tickets” generated to their biostatistical, community engagement and outreach, development team members from the CTR-IN Program. With respect to preparing the research strategy and budget, the following requirements will apply:

  • Cover page- use PHS Form Page 1
  • Project Summary – Form Page 2
  • Specific Aims – 1 page
  • Research Strategy – 4 pages. Note: in addition to Significance, Innovation and Approach sections, the Research Strategy should include timeline, interim milestones and plans for developing and submitting a subsequent extramural grant application. The Research Strategy should also describe how the community partner is involved in the development and/or implementation/dissemination of the project. Note that projects adhering to accepted principles of Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR) are highly encouraged, but not required.
  • Budget details and Justification- PHS Form Page 4
    • Facilities and Administration Costs are limited to the federal/NIH de minimus rate of 10%.
    • All expenses must be allowable under NIH guidelines.
    • Travel expenses are allowed, including expenses for conducting field work as part of the project or accessing experts or other resources such as meeting with a formal Budgets must include costs for the PI and a community member to attend the CTR-IN Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. This will likely be two and a half days of meetings. Travel expenses may be requested for the PI to present this work at one national or regional meeting, providing the meeting date is within the project period and far enough into the project for data to be available.
    • Special requirements regarding PI support: PIs must devote at least 20% effort to the proposed research (i.e., 4 calendar months); up to 50% effort may be proposed. While the budget narrative must reference the full amount of effort required to accomplish the proposed scope of work, the budget may include CTR-IN funds for not more than half of the PI effort. Per prior agreement with CTR-IN partner institutions, the balance of PI effort is to be covered by institutional support in the form of release from teaching, direct salary support, assignment of time provided to pursue scholarly activity, or other mechanism appropriate to the institution. This support is not a formal cost share, and no recording/reporting requirements exist. Budgets should list the full PI effort proposed as appropriate for their appointment in calendar months, or academic and summer months.
    • A minimum of 5% of the total direct cost must be devoted to supporting the community partner(s) engagement with the project.
    • Subcontracts to institutions located in non-IDeA states are not However, services provided in non-IDeA states can be purchased on a fee-for-service basis.
  • Community partner’s Letter of Support (This can be the same letter included in the Nomination Packet.)
  • Human Subjects – Forms F
  • IRB approval or a timeline of how IRB will be obtained before May 4th must be included with application. If the IRB approval is not obtained by May 4th, the application will not be considered for funding — regardless of the Overall Impact Score.
  • Dissemination Plan for how the results of the project will be disseminated back into the community.
  • Other Support for PI
  • If the PI has received prior MW CTR-IN funding, include a 1 page summary of the results of that funding.

 

OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Eligible Mountain West Research Consortium Institutions:

Boise State University

Idaho State University

Montana State University

New Mexico State University

University of Alaska, Anchorage

University of Alaska, Fairbanks

University of Idaho

University of Montana

University of New Mexico HSC

University of Nevada Las Vegas

University of Nevada Reno

University of Wyoming

 

The types of clinical or translational research we fund:

Projects must be clinical and / or translational research (CTR). Clinical research, as defined by NIH, is research with human subjects that is:

  • patient-oriented research;
  • epidemiological or behavioral studies; or
  • outcomes or health services researched

Translational research has been interpreted in a variety of ways in recent years, and CTR-IN characterizes translational research according to the recent review on this topic. For this funding mechanism, we do not support pre-clinical research, sometimes referred to at T0 research. CTR-IN supports four main areas of translational research, defined as follows:

T1: Translation of basic science to early testing in humans;

T2: Early phase clinical trial; efficacy; establishment of clinical guidelines;

T3: Implementation and dissemination research; and

T4: Outcomes and effectiveness research.

The MW CTR-IN Professional Development (PD) Core:

The PD Core offers several resources to enhance your application and facilitate career advancement. For nominees, the PD Core can help identify an appropriate mentor for your project. For eventual awardees, the PD Core offers critical educational resources that are often required by NIH and that will enhance your project, such as Good Clinical Practice and Responsible Conduct of Research training. These resources are available to MW-CTR-IN investigators regardless of whether or not their project is selected for funding. Finally, Grant Writing Workshops and the Advance to Funding Program (a pre-review study section service offered for first time R-level applicants) are offered annually.

CTR-IN programmatic resources are available to assist with application submissions:

Jeffery Chaichana Peterson, PhD

Jeffrey Chaichana Peterson received his PhD from the University of New Mexico and trained as a Minority Research Fellow for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Association of Schools of Public Health/Prevention Research Centers. Currently, he is a Research Professor in the University of Montana’s School of Public and Community Health Sciences and the Associate Director of the Mountain West CTR-IN’s Community Engagement and Outreach (CEO) Core. He works in the area of implementation science and advocates for community-based, participatory, and culture-centered approaches to translate evidence-base research from academia tot he front lines of public health practice. In his career, he has worked with diverse populations including the urban homeless, migrant farm workers, Latina pregnant or parenting teens, American Indian communities, and transgender sex workers, among other vulnerable populations.

Beth Tigges Bio

Beth Tigges, PhD, RN, PPCNP-BC, FAAN is the Director for the Tracking & Evaluation (T&E) Core of the MW CTR-IN Program. She is a tenured Professor and Regents’ Professor at The University of New Mexico (UNM) College of Nursing in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has experience with mixed methods evaluation of large and complex research centers, particularly those emphasizing infrastructure development, team science, mentoring, and institutional change.  She is the founding Director of Tracking and Evaluation for the University of New Mexico NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Center (2010–present), and past Co-Chair of the national NIH-NCATS CTSA Program Evaluators’ Group (2017-21). She leads the evaluation for the following NIGMS-funded grants:  UNM Center for Brain Recovery and Repair; UNM Autophagy, Inflammation, and Metabolism Center of Biomedical Research Excellence; and the UNM study, Effectiveness of Innovative Research Mentor Interventions among Underrepresented Minority Faculty in the Southwest. She has a background in instrument development and psychometrics, and has designed and/or conducted eight community-based studies, including the U.S. National Children’s Study in New Mexico. Dr. Tigges received her B.S. in Nursing from Penn State, her M.S. in Nursing from Yale University, and a PhD degree from Columbia University in public health and social psychology.

Robert Seville Bio

Robert “Scott” Seville, PhD, will serve as the Associate Director of the MW CTR-IN Pilot Projects (CP3) Core and is the Chair of the Concierge Network. He is currently a Professor of Zoology and Physiology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Wyoming. Currently, he serves as the Lead Concierge for MW CTR-IN Concierge Network. Previously, he served as the Associate Dean for the University of Wyoming Outreach School where he had oversight of UW facilities, staff and programs across Wyoming including managing UW Academic Regional Centers located on each Wyoming community college and the Wind River Indian Reservation. He received his Master’s and PhD degrees, and Postdoctoral training in Zoology/Physiology/Parasitology from the University of Wyoming, Laramie, in Wyoming followed by a NSF/NATO Fellowship in Parasitology.

Dr. Seville’s research has focused on the taxonomy, systematics, and parasite-host co-evolution using gastrointestinal protozoan parasites (coccidia) in wild hosts as a model system. Additionally, he brings experience in leading and managing NIH-funded activities as the Program Director/Principal Investigator, Outreach/Education Core Director, and previously Program Coordinator for the IDeA-funded Wyoming INBRE program. In these leadership roles, he has been responsible for working with the INBRE leadership team and the University of Wyoming Office of Research and Economic Development in managing ~$35M in support from NIGMS IDeA Programs with a number of research, education programs and projects focused on addressing health disparities in rural and American Indian communities in Wyoming.

Tony Ward Bio

Tony Ward, PhD, will serve as the Director for the new upcoming Community Engagement and Outreach (CEO) Core in Years 6-10 of the MW CTR-IN Program. In addition to teaching within University of Montana’s School of Public and Community Health Sciences, Dr. Ward’s research focuses on investigating the relationship between air pollution and respiratory health, working with rural and American Indian (AI) and Alaska Native (AN) populations throughout our region. Concurrently, he is the Co-PI on two NIEHS-funded R01s investigating the impact of residential wood burning on respiratory health in both children and elderly populations living in rural and tribal areas located in the southwest, northern Rocky Mountains, and rural Alaska Native communities. He is also the Co-PI on a NIH funded Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) project that educates rural and AI/AN students in schools throughout Montana, Idaho, and Alaska about air quality/respiratory health. Moreover, Dr. Ward is the Chair at the University of Montana, School of Public and Community Health Sciences in Missoula, Montana, and the State of Montana Director of the CEO Core for the AI/AN Clinical Translational Research Project (CTRP). Dr. Ward received his Masters degree in Environmental Science and Industrial Hygiene from the University of Houston, Clear Lake in Texas, and his PhD degree in Environmental Chemistry from the University of Montana, Missoula, in Montana along with a Postdoctoral.

Dr. Ward has experience conducting Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) in rural and underserved communities, including AI/AN communities. His experience with the AI/AN CTRP will be a valuable asset for his role as the CEO Core Director for the CTR-IN, providing synergy for both of the IDeA Programs.

Chad Cross Bio

Chad Cross, PhD, MFT, PStat(R) is the Co-Associate Director for the Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Research and Design (BERD) Core for the MW CTR-IN Program. In this role, Dr. Cross provides expertise in scientific research, biostatistical analysis, and Core leadership. Dr. Cross has been a faculty member at several universities (currently at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas), worked for approximately 10 years in federal service (US Environmental Protection Agency and the Veterans Health Administration), and worked in private industry as a scientific subject matter expert and statistician.

Dr. Cross is trained as a multidisciplinary scientist. He received is PhD in Ecological Sciences (focus in Quantitative Ecology and Statistics) from Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virginia. He additionally holds several master’s degrees: Computational & Applied Mathematics/Statistics (Old Dominion University), Medical Entomology & Nematology (University of Florida), and Counseling (University of Nevada, Las Vegas). His undergraduate training was at Purdue University, where he earned two bachelor’s degrees, one in biological sciences and the other in wildlife science. Dr. Cross has several active areas of research. These include: (1) Public Health: Investigations in population health related to chronic and infectious diseases, with special emphasis on quantitative methodology and use of large databases; (2) Epidemiology & Biostatistics: Applications of statistics and epidemiological principles to problems in the health sciences – for example clinical trials, multivariate models, and population sampling strategies; (3) Medical Entomology & Parasitology: Applied research and field work in arthropod-borne and parasitic diseases, including population-based estimation of disease burden and the intersection of medical entomology and forensic science; (4) Quantitative Ecology: Applications of statistics to problems in the environmental and ecological sciences – for example Bayesian models for estimating avian fatality around wind turbines and mark-recapture sampling; and (5) Psychometrics: Applications of statistics to problems in the psychological sciences – for example randomized controlled trials for interventions and pattern recognition for finding clusters of patients with shared pathology.

Ruben Dagda Bio

Ruben Dagda, PhD, is the Associate Director of the Professional Development (PD) Core for the MW CTR-IN Program. In this role, he coordinates the Advance to Funding (ATF) Program and the Grant Writing Workshops (GWW). He received his PhD degree in Pharmacology from the University of Iowa and received his Postdoctoral training at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Dagda is also an Associate Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Nevada Reno

In this role for the ATF Program, he assists research investigators in the review of their grants prior to submission to the NIH to provide constructive feedback from our many expert reviewers to increase their probability of extramural funding. Hence, the ATF Program functions very much like a “study section”. He is also in charge of coordinating the GWWs, which assist research investigators in improving their knowledge and skills in the preparation of grants to make them more competitive for extramural grant funding. He is currently investigating the molecular mechanisms that lead to mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress in cell culture, tissue and animal models of Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Dagda has authored multiple research manuscripts and review articles in the areas of toxicology, toxinology, mitochondrial function, and neurobiology. At the University of Nevada Medical School (UNSOM), he is committed to the training and education of undergraduate, graduate students and postdocs in his lab. His main research goals are to elucidate the prosurvival signaling pathways that regulate mitochondrial function, transport and turn-over in neurons and how aging and neurodegenerative diseases negatively impact these processes. The end goal is to develop novel small molecular drugs that can reverse neurodegeneration and elevate mitochondrial function in age-related neurodegenerative diseases.

Brach Poston Bio

Brach Poston, PhD, is an Associate Director of the Educational Resources in the Professional Development (PD) Core of the Mountain West Clinical and Translational Research Infrastructure Network (MW CTR-IN). He is an Associate Professor in the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences Department.  He teaches Neurophysiology of Movement, Scientific Basis of Strength Training, and Advanced Strength Methods within the undergraduate program, and Neurophysiology of Movement and Biomechanics of Strength within the graduate program.

Dr. Poston’s research focuses primarily on the use of non-invasive brain stimulation (transcranial direct current stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation) to improve motor skill and learning in Parkinson’s disease, aging, and young adults. He also conducts research on strength training and muscle fatigue as well as concussion in boxing and mixed martial arts.

Before coming to UNLV, Dr. Poston was a project scientist at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas. Prior to this position, he completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in the Human Motor Control Section, Medical Neurology Branch of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health. He also received postdoctoral training at Arizona State University in neural and motor control.

Dr. Poston earned his Ph.D. in Integrative Physiology from the University of Colorado-Boulder, a Master’s in Exercise Physiology from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and a Bachelor’s in Physical Education from Southwest Missouri State University. He has received research funding from NIH/NINDS, Mountain West CTR-IN, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Poston has also served on several NASA human performance grant review panels and will become Director of the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Ph.D. program at UNLV in 2022.

Juli Petereit Bio

Juli Petereit, MS, PhD is the Associate Core Director of the Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design (BERD) core for the MW-CTR-IN Program. In addition, she is the Director of the Nevada Bioinformatics Center and Co-Director for the Data Science Core for Biomedical Research, NIH IDeA NV INBRE at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). Dr. Petereit received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering and MS in Applied Mathematics from UNR in 2016 and 2010 respectively. 

As a bioinformatics scientist, Dr. Petereit supports researchers at UNR as an expert in small- and large-scale statistical analyses, quantitative analyses, statistical inference, (social/gene) network modeling, analysis of complex statistical data, analysis of large-scale high-throughput omics data, and other advanced bioinformatics and biostatistical applications. She serves an interdisciplinary research community and is involved in numerous research projects ranging from survey studies in social behavioral science to studies examining protein levels across multiple experimental conditions.

Dr. Petereit has been involved with the Nevada Bioinformatics Center since March 2017 and has continued to contribute her unique skill set towards providing comprehensive support for the MW CTR-IN Program’s need for study design, biostatistics, and data management. She is committed to integrating biostatistics support into the fabric of MW CTR-IN clinical and translational research culture by providing state-of-the-art bioinformatics and (bio)statistics services for individual research projects by conducting custom and standardized data analytical protocols (for bioinformatics, biostatistics, and biomedical data science), developing statistical & computational pipelines to ensure reproducible research, and assisting in pre-proposal support and extramural grant applications.

Akshay Sood Bio

Akshay Sood, MD, MPH

Akshay Sood, MD, MPH is the Associate Director of the Professional Development (PD) Core for the Mountain West CTR-IN Program. As the Associate Director for the PD Core’s Mentoring Unit, Dr. Sood’s focus is on the Mentorship Program. Dr. Sood obtained his Master’s in Public Health from Yale University and completed his fellowship training in Pulmonary, Critical Care and Occupational Medicine at Yale University – School of Medicine.

Dr. Sood is currently the Assistant Dean of Mentoring and Faculty Retention for the School of Medicine Office of Faculty Affairs and Career Development at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNM-HSC). In addition, he is a Tenured Professor for UNM-HSC’s Department of Medicine, Divisions of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine and Epidemiology. Dr. Sood’s interest in the epidemiology of chronic lung diseases has helped him build a unique academic career around the clinical translational basis for the association between non-smoking host factors and obstructive lung diseases. He leads the UNM HSC Faculty Mentor Development Program and is the P.I. of a U01 grant on the “Effectiveness of Innovative Research Mentor Interventions among Underrepresented Minority Faculty in the Southwest (NIGMS U01GM132175-01)”. He serves as a member of the Executive Steering Committee of the Diversity Program Consortium at the NIH. Dr. Sood has a natural passion for research education, supporting scholars, and trainees as they learn the steps necessary to assemble an independent research program. His mentoring experience provides a strong basis for his leadership for the MW CTR-IN Program’s PD Core.

Larissa Myaskovsky  Bio

Larissa Myaskovsky, PhD, is the Director of the Professional Development (PD) Core for the MW CTR-IN Program and the Director for the Mountain West CTR-IN’s Ambassador Translational Research in Progress (ATRIP) Program.  She is a tenured Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and the Director of the Center Healthcare Equity in Kidney Disease at the University of New Mexico, Health Sciences Center.

Dr. Myaskovsky received her BA in Psychology with Specialization in Women’s Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, her MA in General-Experimental Psychology from California State University, Northridge, and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, and a fellowship in Health Services Research at the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. With more than 20 years of research experience and funding, her NIH and VA-funded research focuses on the social determinants of health and using a multi-method and multi-disciplinary approach to identify and understand disparities in healthcare processes and outcomes, and to develop interventions to reduce health disparities in vulnerable populations. Before joining the UNM faculty in 2017, Dr. Myaskovsky was a tenured Associate Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, and completed a year-long NIH-funded Professional Mentoring Skills Enhancing Diversity leadership training program through the National Research Mentoring Network, and was the 2017 recipient of the Philip Troen, MD Excellence in Medical Student Research Mentoring Award. She has taught medical writing and presentation, research grant design and development, measurement design and development, and healthcare disparities research methods to early career faculty, fellows, graduate and medical students. Dr. Myaskovsky is passionate about research education, and supporting scholars and trainees as they assemble an independent research program. Her mentorship and leadership experience provides a strong basis for leading the MW CTR-IN Professional Development Core.

Curtis Noonan Bio

Curtis Noonan, PhD, MA is the Director of the Clinical Pilot Projects Program (CP3) Core. He has served in this role for the past five years and will continue to serve in this role for the next grant cycle. The CP3 Core has successfully administered the single institution, single investigator and the multi-site pilot grants since the inception of the Mountain West CTR-IN Program.

Dr. Noonan received his MA degree in International Health and Development from George Washington University and his PhD in Environmental Health, Epidemiology from Colorado State University. He is currently a Professor of Epidemiology in the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Montana. He has led NIH funded multi-site randomized trials focused on improving health outcomes and reducing exposures among vulnerable populations exposed to elevated levels of particulate matter from burning of biomass fuels for residential heating. Dr. Noon is a member of the Infectious, Reproductive, Asthma and Pulmonary Conditions (IRAP) Study Section.

Weiyu Mao Bio

Weiyu Mao, PhD, MSW, MPhil is an Associate Director of the Educational Resources in the Professional Development (PD) Core of the Mountain West Clinical and Translational Research Infrastructure Network (MW CTR-IN) Program. Dr. Mao is a tenured Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Nevada, Reno. Dr. Mao received her Master of Social Work, PhD, and post-doctoral training from the University of Southern California (USC) as well as her Master of Philosophy in Social Welfare from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Bachelor of Law from Nankai University, China.

Dr. Mao’s research program aims to improve health and quality of life for vulnerable older adults and their families. Dr. Mao’s current research has focused on the investigations of social determinants of health (including oral health) in both heritage- and receiving- cultures. Dr. Mao strives to further the understanding of health disparities (including oral health disparities) among older ethnic and racial minority populations (e.g., older Asians and older Asian Americans) and explicate how social determinants, especially understudied psychosocial determinants, are associated with varying exposures and vulnerabilities to health inequities.

Dr. Mao has been gravitating towards interdisciplinary research and leading interdisciplinary teams, including collaborators from sociology, nursing, public health, and medicine. Dr. Mao’s work has been featured in high impact peer reviewed journals, including The Gerontologist, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Journal of Dental Research, Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, and The International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Dr. Mao is currently working on two pilot projects funded by the Asian Research Center for Minority Aging Research (Asian RCMAR), National Institute on Aging and by Division of Aging and Disability Services, Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Mao has a passion for advocating, promoting, and supporting research and related activities.     

Richard Larson Bio

Richard Larson, MD, PhD, serves as the CTSC Liaison for the MW CTR-IN Program. He is the Executive Vice Chancellor for Research of Health Sciences at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center as well as a tenured Professor at the University of New Mexico. In addition, he is also the PI of the UNM Clinical and Translational Science Center. He also served on the Board of Directors for the National Center for Genome Research. In 2001, he co-founded Cancer Services of New Mexico, a non-profit organization which serves, free of charge, over 2000 New Mexicans suffering from cancer each year. Moreover, he is the President of the Cancer Services of New Mexico Foundation. In addition, Moreover, he also serves as the Chair of the Mountain West Research Consortium, which was critical in laying down the ground work for the eventual development of the MW CTR-IN Program. Dr. Larson received his MD and PhD degrees from Harvard University and performed his residency training at Washington University in St. Louis and fellowship training at Vanderbilt University in Pathology.

Francisco Sy Bio

Francisco S. Sy, MD, DrPH is the Principal Investigator (PI) of the MW CTR-IN Program. He is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) School of Public Health. Dr. Sy earned his Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) in Immunology & Infectious Diseases in 1984 from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and his Master of Science (SM) in Tropical Public Health in 1981 from Harvard T.F. Chan School of Public Health. He obtained his MD degree in 1975 and BS Pre-Med in 1970 from the University of the Philippines.

Dr. Sy worked at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for 12 years. In 2004, he was appointed as a Health Scientist Administrator in the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) where he developed and managed the NIMHD Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Program. He also managed the NIMHD Loan Repayment Program and the Research Endowment Program. In 2007, Dr. Sy was promoted to the position of Director of  Extramural Activities and Scientific Programs at NIMHD.  As the DEA Director, Dr. Sy was responsible for the scientific and administrative management of the division, and served as the principal advisor to the NIMHD Director on programmatic resource decisions and research administration policies. He provided leadership and oversight of the Grants Management Office, Scientific Review Office, and the Scientific Programs Office at NIMHD. Dr. Sy advocated and wrote the justifications for adding sexual and gender minorities (SGM) in the list of health disparities populations which was approved by the NIH Director and Secretary of HHS in 2016. When he retired from NIH in May 2016, his colleagues at NIH, CDC and the Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) created the Francisco Sy Excellence in Mentorship Award. It is an annual award given to an outstanding scientist who has excelled in mentoring junior scientists at HHS.

Dr. Sy worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for 4 years. He was a Senior Health Scientist in the Program Evaluation Branch, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. He was a member of the CDC SARS Outbreak Investigation Team in 2003. He led the CDC SARS Community Outreach Team in Asian communities in the U.S. to mitigate the fear and stigma associated with SARS.  Dr. Sy was an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at University of South Carolina School of Public Health and taught infectious disease epidemiology for 15 years. Dr. Sy developed and continues to serve since 1988 as the Editor of AIDS Education and Prevention- An Interdisciplinary Journal, a bimonthly peer reviewed international journal published by Guilford Publications in New York.

Xiaomeng (Mona) Xu

Dr. Xu is a 2015 MW CTR-IN Pilot Grant Awardee recipient. Her project was entitled, “Understanding the Role of Self-Expansion in Physical Activity”. Her research focuses on cardiovascular behavioral health including weight control, smoking and physical activity; close relationships, especially romantic; and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) neuroimaging. Dr. Xu is also interested in these research areas in the context of individual differences such as trait self-control, and development over time, such as aging or as a romantic relationship progresses.

Dr. Xu received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in psychology from New York University, and Master of Arts Degree in psychology from Stony Brook University, and a Ph.D. in social health psychology from Stony Brook University. She completed a postdoctoral research fellowship sponsored by the National Institutes of Health at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and The Miriam Hospital.

Dr. Xu is an Assistant Professor of Experimental Psychology at Idaho State University and was honored as a 2015 Rising Star from the Association for Psychological Science. As a result of her advanced work in the field, the Association for Psychological Science has recognized Dr. Xu as an outstanding psychological scientist. As facilitated by the Individualized Development Plan (IDP) which is a critical component of the CTR-IN PG award, Dr. Xu had a successful mentorship experience with her mentor, Claudio Nigg, PhD, from the University of Hawaii. The pilot grant’s IDP provides mentorship for career development. As a result of the mentoring facilitated by the IDP, Dr. Xu has collaborated with Dr. Nigg on various projects, which have led to a manuscript publication, poster presentations, future collaborations, etc. Moreover, based on her academic productivity which has been significantly facilitated by the MW CTR-IN PG award, she will be applying for tenure at Idaho State University.

Susan Tavernier

Education: BSN from Whitworth University in Spokane in Washington; MSN from Loyola University of Chicago; PhD in Nursing from the University of Utah; Postdoctoral fellowship from the College of Nursing at the University of Utah.

MW CTR-IN helped to provide education in grant management, post-award processes, timeline projections, and meaningful tools for grant tracking.

Dr. Tavernier was a Year 4 MW CTR-IN Pilot Grant Awardee in 2016. Her project was entitled, “The Patient Voice in Healthcare”. The MW CTR-IN pilot grant was also instrumental in helping her with the nuances of grant management including hiring personnel, budgets, quarterly and annual reports. As a nurse scientist, her research area focuses on cancer patients. She has gained expertise with large qualitative data sets and has conducted research in the clinical setting. Dr. Tavernier is currently an Assistant Professor at Idaho State University in the School of Nursing and was a recipient of a Presidential Scholarship for new health service researchers from Academy Health.
Additionally, she has authored a chapter on Symptom Distress in the textbook Cancer Symptom Management 4th Edition, and has served as a review panel member for the Oncology Nursing Foundation for research and awards. She is also an active member of the Oncology Nursing Society.

Blakely Brown

Education: PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota; RD from the University of Minnesota

MW CTR-IN helped to expand collaborations for a nutrition and physical activity study with a direct impact on the health of community children.

Dr. Blakely Brown was a MW CTR-IN Pilot Grant (PG) Awardee and Visiting Scholar in 2014. Her project was entitled, “Developing and Pilot Testing Parent Education Activities within a Childhood Obesity Prevention After-School Program”. Dr. Brown built upon this PG research funding from the MW CTR-IN Program and secured 3 additional extramural grants also in the areas of childhood obesity totaling $278,167 in extramural grant funding as follows: (1) Partnerships to Prevent Childhood Obesity on the Flathead Indian Reservation; (2) Generations Health Project: An After-School and Home Based Childhood Obesity Prevention Program; (3) and USDA Strengthening Grant: Growing Strong Generations. These research studies have allowed Dr. Brown to successfully expand her research collaborations with rural and Native American communities that have resulted in longitudinal outcomes reporting risk factors for diabetes in native and non-native children, assessments of environmental and behavioral factors associated with risk for childhood obesity and diabetes in youth in rural communities.
Dr. Brown’s research, teaching and service focus on nutrition and chronic disease prevention, maternal-child health, childhood obesity and diabetes prevention, community-based participatory research methods, Native American health and diversity-related activities.