Background: Novel and comprehensive approaches are needed to address shortcomings in the diversity and inclusiveness of the scientific workforce. In response to this need and informed by multiple programs and data sources, we created the Research Scholars Program (RSP). The RSP is a yearlong program for early-career faculty with an overall objective to overcome barriers to the academic success, retention, progression, and promotion of groups underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research. The goal of the RSP is to increase research confidence and productivity, build a supportive research community, and reduce isolation by providing personal and group research enrichment to junior faculty through professional development, mentorship, and networking. Methods: We adapted evidence-based approaches for our institutional context and vetted the RSP across our campus. The resulting RSP consists of three main elements: (1) five levels of Mosaic Mentorship; (2) group and tailored professional development programming; and (3) scientific and social networking. To determine the potential of the RSP to improve research confidence critical to success, we used a modified shortened version of the Clinical Research Appraisal Inventory (CRAI-12) to assess participants’ confidence in performing a variety of research tasks before and after program participation. We collected information about retention, promotion, and grants submitted and awarded. Additionally, we conducted semi-structured exit interviews with each scholar after program participation to identify programmatic strengths and areas for improvement. Data for Cohorts 1 and 2 (N = 12) were analyzed. Results: Our assessment finds, with one exception, increasing confidence in participants’ research skills across all items, ranging from 0.4 (4.7%) to 2.6 (40.6%). In their exit interviews, the Research Scholars (RS) described their improved productivity and increased sense of belonging and support from others. Research Scholars noted numerous components of the RSP as strengths, including the Mosaic Mentorship model, professional development programming, and opportunities for both informal and formal interactions. Respondents identified time pressure, a lack of feedback, and unclear expectations of the various mentorship roles as areas in which the program can improve. Conclusion: Preliminary findings indicate that the RSP is successful in building the research confidence of underrepresented and disadvantaged early-career faculty. While this report focuses on the development and protocol of the RSP, additional cohorts and data will provide the evidence base to support dissemination as a national model of research professional development. Such programming is critical to ensure sustainable support structures, institutional networks, infrastructure, and resources that will improve discovery and equity through inclusive excellence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number98
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024, The Author(s).


  • Diversity
  • Faculty development
  • Mentoring
  • Social networking
  • Underrepresentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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