$13.7 million grant will create systemic and sustainable culture to support underrepresented communities in health disparities research at UAB and Tuskegee

The partnership between UAB and Tuskegee will build a community of scientists committed to inclusive excellence.

African-American men in a laboratory microscope with microscope slide in hand.The partnership between UAB and Tuskegee will build a community of scientists committed to inclusive excellence.The University of Alabama at Birmingham and Tuskegee University received a $13.7 million grant to hire and train 12 new research faculty members across both institutions to create systemic and sustainable culture change.

The Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation, or FIRST, partnership will further support inclusive excellence in health disparities research at both institutions. 

“We are proud to continue our partnership with Tuskegee University in this endeavor to build a community of scientists committed to inclusive excellence by recruiting early-career faculty committed to promoting diversity and inclusion while addressing health disparities,” said UAB Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine Dean and Senior Vice President for Medicine Selwyn Vickers, M.D.

Faculty will be hired representing areas of research strength and opportunity across both institutions, including cancer, obesity and diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neuroscience.

Selwyn Vickers, M.D.Selwyn Vickers, M.D.“Tuskegee University and UAB have longstanding and productive partnerships in research and the development of faculty scientists,” Tuskegee President Charlotte P. Morris said. “This NIH FIRST grant is an excellent opportunity to build on our years of work together. We are excited to be a part of this important initiative to nurture a culture of inclusive excellence among the faculty at both our institutions, while helping ensure the success of a new generation of researchers.”

Program hires will be designated as Benjamin-Carver Scientists in honor of two barrier-breaking investigator leaders — 18th U.S. Surgeon General and Heersink School of Medicine alumna Regina Benjamin, M.D., and research scientist, Tuskegee faculty member and humanitarian George Washington Carver. “This is an incalculable opportunity to attract and recruit faculty from under-represented populations and fully support their growth to become independent scientists,” said Clayton Yates, Ph.D., director for the Center for Biomedical Research and MPI of this award. 

Scientists will be surrounded by a comprehensive support infrastructure, including sponsors, mentors, career coaches, institutional research navigators and professional development opportunities, to help mitigate the difficulties experienced by new hires and accelerate the development of collaborative networks and peer support.