Executive Director's Note, Jan. 2021

Welcome to a new year filled with exciting possibilities for our research, our academic progress, and of course for impacting child health through the highest quality research.

As you are aware, getting research accomplished over the last ten months has been difficult at times with the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic impacting laboratory and clinical research as well as every other aspect of our academic life. Here at CHRI we have worked diligentlyanderson-berry-photo-2.jpg to support all of our investigators through these uncertainties and are looking ahead to 2021 as a year full of exciting opportunities to be even more productive and innovative in child health research by supporting your work and your ideas. The news from the Dr. Jennifer Larsen, UNMC Vice Chancellor for Research, that new studies can again progress through the usual route of approval and opening is a major step in that direction.

January is National Mentoring Month

“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” — Denzel Washington

Mentoring is essential to the success of our investigators and CHRI. As a young institute we have a large number of junior investigators whose careers we are committed to support and develop. In addition to the other services we provide, I view mentoring as a critical component of setting up investigators for success. Please know that CHRI is dedicated to supporting your work in child health research through mentoring opportunities. While finding individual mentors can be difficult, we are working to develop programing that will train mentors and connect investigators with others who can provide support. Along with your Division Chief and Chair, CHRI is able to work with you to help identify specific research mentors for unique projects, or more longitudinal research mentors.

Mentoring in CHRI is also integrated with our internal grant mechanisms. CHRI offers early-career clinicians on our faculty an opportunity for three years of structured mentoring, coupled with research funding, through our CHRI Scholars Award. All applicants for any category of CHRI grants receive feedback from a dedicated grant review team, followed by opportunities to discuss, revise and resubmit unfunded applications.

Also remember, it’s never too early to consider yourself a research mentor. We have many opportunities for our investigators to mentor trainees. Every year, CHRI sponsors Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) students. The College of Medicine sponsors a Medical Student Summer Research Program, as well as research electives, and honors theses in the final year of training. And, don’t forget, CHRI mini-grants can be awarded to support residents and fellows in their mentored work.

We are planning a research mentoring workshop, to be presented by facilitators trained locally by the Great Plains IDeA-CTR in a nationally recognized program from the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER). Please watch for announcements later this year. We are hoping to schedule this as an in-person experience.

Mentoring relationships evolve over time, some are short and some are lifelong. Some are project oriented and some take a more philosophical turn. All of these relationships are valuable for both the mentor and the mentee. So, as the year proceeds, recognize the current and future mentors and mentees in your career, ask for assistance if needed, and together we will make additional opportunities to enhance our CHRI research experience and expertise.

Wishing you all the best in 2021, and please follow us on our new Twitter account @CHRI_ResearchNE

Ann