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Dartmouth Launches New Health Equity Faculty Fellows Program

For busy early-career physician-scientists looking to pursue their interests in health equity research, securing the time and dedicated resources to support their career-development goals can have a significant impact on their long-term success.

That’s the idea behind the Dartmouth Health Equity Faculty Fellows Program—a new collaboration between Geisel School of Medicine’s Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and Dartmouth Health (DH).

Funded by DH and led by faculty and staff at The Dartmouth Institute, the program will provide competitively selected early-career faculty with 50 percent protected time, space, staff support, supervision, access to research resources, and mentoring in an established research environment for two years.

“The goal of the program is to advance health equity research productivity among early career Geisel faculty, which includes having them successfully apply for an intramural or extramural career development award from the NIH during year two,” explains Amber Barnato, MD, MPH, MS, the John E. Wennberg Distinguished Professor in Health Policy and Clinical Practice and director of The Dartmouth Institute.

Erika Moen, PhD, MS, assistant professor of biomedical data science and The Dartmouth Institute, will serve as the faculty director of the program. “Dr. Moen is an exceptionally talented scientist, mentor, and emerging leader at Dartmouth who will guide the cohort of fellows on their path to success,” says Barnato, who is serving as a sponsor at the medical school for the new program along with Geisel Dean Duane Compton, PhD.

Sanam Roder-DeWan, MD, DrPH

“We’re delighted to announce that Sanam Roder-DeWan, MD, DrPH, and Patience Toyin-Thomas, MD, PhD, were recently selected as our inaugural faculty fellows and will be joining us in mid-November,” says Moen. “They come to us exceptionally well-prepared to do research and both bring very interesting and diverse lived experiences to their work.”

Chosen through a rigorous peer-review process, Roder-DeWan and Toyin-Thomas will be guided by faculty mentors in their primary clinical departments—Community and Family Medicine and Pediatrics, respectively—as well as research faculty at The Dartmouth Institute.

“Maternal and newborn mortality rates in low-income settings and poorly resourced healthcare systems are much higher than they are in high-income countries and well-resourced healthcare systems,” says Roder-DeWan, a family physician and implementation scientist who is originally from Switzerland and Iran and has done global health work for UNICEF and The World Bank. “My research focuses on health system level interventions and innovative models of care that work for marginalized populations and low-income settings to ensure that every person, every family has access to high-quality care.”

When asked what drew her to Dartmouth, Roder-DeWan says, “The Dartmouth Institute is world-renowned for its work on quality of care. I’m really looking forward to working with colleagues who use a variety of methods and have perhaps slightly different research focuses and experiences than I do and using those perspectives to deepen my work.”

A general pediatrician and health services researcher, Toyin-Thomas is focused on Medicaid delivery systems such as HMOs, and disparities in access to high-quality care among Medicaid children, a population that has been economically-disadvantaged. “Ensuring that this very vulnerable population is getting the healthcare they deserve is very important, both for their health during childhood and later on as adults,” says Toyin-Thomas, who is originally from Nigeria and most recently worked at a federally qualified health center in the Midwest.

Patience Toyin-Thomas, MD, PhD

“As a clinician-scientist, I’m focused on doing actionable research that builds scientific knowledge and helps inform policies needed to reduce health disparities, particularly among more vulnerable populations,” says Toyin-Thomas. “I look forward to collaborating with my mentors at Dartmouth to further this goal.”

“We are excited to see the launching of this new faculty career development program and to have Sanam and Patience joining us as the inaugural fellows this fall,” says Geisel Dean Duane Compton, PhD, a sponsor of the program at the medical school with Barnato. “This will allow us to continue to grow Geisel’s health services research portfolio in the area of maternal and child health, as improving outcomes early in life is essential to our goal of advancing health equity.”

Importantly, the new Health Equity Faculty Fellows Program will also support Dartmouth’s long-term goal of increasing collaboration across its clinical and foundational departments in support of greater research productivity.

“This program is a great example of the kinds of investments that our academic health system is making to grow our research programs,” says Susan Reeves, EdD, RN, CENP, executive vice president at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and chief nursing executive at DH, and a sponsor for the new program at Dartmouth Health along with Patrick Jordan, chief operating officer at DH. “This includes continuing to recruit, retain, and train the next generation of investigators who will make important contributions to advancing health and healthcare in the future.”

Founded in 1797, the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth strives to improve the lives of the communities it serves through excellence in learning, discovery, and healing. The Geisel School of Medicine is renowned for its leadership in medical education, healthcare policy and delivery science, biomedical research, global health, and in creating innovations that improve lives worldwide. As one of America’s leading medical schools, Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine is committed to training new generations of diverse leaders who will help solve our most vexing challenges in healthcare.