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IU Adolescent Health Researchers Selected for National Leadership Program to Build Health Equity

  • Oct. 4, 2017

The ability to design targeted research to meet urgent community needs, followed by its direct implementation, researchers and community leaders are powerful partners in instilling change to meet regional health care needs.

As a member of one of only 15 three-person teams selected, Mary A. Ott, MD, MA, associate professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, joins Interdisciplinary Research Leaders, a leadership development program led by the University of Minnesota with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Ott will join a diverse group of researchers and community leaders including directors of nonprofits, psychologists, community organizers, and sociologists from across the country, to collaboratively solve persistent health challenges. Together, these fellows will help advance a Culture of Health—one that places well-being at the center of every aspect of life.

Each year, the program chooses two project themes. Dr. Ott’s team designed their project to address youth development approaches to prevent violence and promote health. Other members of the team include Matthew Aalsma, PhD, professor of pediatrics and psychology at the IU School of Medicine, and Abby Hunt, MSW, executive director of Health Care Education and Training, Inc.

The team will develop high-level leadership skills through mentoring, networking and an advanced leadership curriculum. While participating in the program, they will continue working full time, and applying new knowledge and leadership in their community and field.

“This year’s fellows are addressing significant challenges communities face in achieving better health and health equity. We are excited to see the unique, diverse teams entering this program, and believe this cohort will demonstrate the power of community-engaged interdisciplinary research to solve real-world problems,” said Michael Oakes, PhD, director of Interdisciplinary Research Leaders and professor at the University of Minnesota. “Through this program, fellows will learn the leadership skills necessary to help build a Culture of Health.”

Additional partners providing training and support to fellows include: AcademyHealth, ISAIAH, and Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

Interdisciplinary Research Leaders is one of a number of leadership development programs supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). These programs continue RWJF’s legacy of supporting the development and diversity of leaders. Initially focused on health and health care, the programs have been expanded as building a Culture of Health requires individuals of every sector, profession and discipline to work together. The next application period for many of these programs will open in early 2018. Additional information is available at www.interdisciplinaryresearch-leaders.org.