Grant to help faculty struggling with family care during pandemic

The Doris Duke foundation has awarded the Stanford School of Medicine $550,000 to aid physician-scientists with family caregiving responsibilities heightened by COVID-19.

A grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation will help researchers with family caregiving responsibilities.
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A new grant will benefit junior faculty members at the School of Medicine who are struggling to care for family members because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $550,000 grant, from the Doris Duke Foundation’s COVID-19 Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists, will help 16 early-career faculty over two years. They can use the funding to hire administrative or technical staff, or to allow for more time in the lab. Awardees will also receive mentoring, career coaching and biostastical resources, and they will take part in professional development activities. The first request for applications will be announced in January, and the first round of funding will be awarded by April.

“Our goal is to increase the support for, and retention of, outstanding early-career investigators who are conducting high-impact clinical research while also burdened with significant caregiving demands as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ruth O’Hara, PhD, senior associate dean for research and the Lowell W. and Josephine Q. Berry Professor. O’Hara and Linda Boxer, MD, PhD, vice dean and the Stanley McCormick Memorial Professor, will direct the award. They will continue supporting all faculty members who have family caregiving responsibilities.

The foundation, which awarded the grant to 21 other medical schools around the country, noted in a news release that having limited help with family caregiving contributes to the attrition of more than 40% of early-career faculty in their first 10 years at an academic medical center.

“COVID-19 brought us face to face, or Zoom to Zoom, with the caregiving demands so many face,” said Sam Gill, CEO and president of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, in a press release. “This is a crisis for biomedical science — but it can be an opportunity. These medical schools are leading the way in seizing the urgency of the moment to challenge business as usual and to commit to innovative approaches that will assure a more inclusive, equitable future across the biomedical sciences.”

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