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The NURTURE Program principal investigators are Melissa Simon, MD, MPH, director of Northwestern University’s Center for Health Equity Transformation; Clyde Yancy, MD, MSc, vice dean for Diversity and Inclusion at Feinberg School of Medicine; and Eric Perreault, PhD, associate dean for Research in the McCormick School of Engineering. NURTURE’s Faculty Development Core is led by Luisa Iruela-Arispe, PhD, professor and chair in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, and Susanna A. McColley, MD, professor of Pediatrics in Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine. The Evaluation Core is led by Kristi Holmes, PhD, director of Evaluation for the Northwestern University Clinical & Translational Sciences Institute (NUCATS) Institute, and Bennett Goldberg, PhD, faculty director of the Program Evaluation Core.

NURTURE Leadership

Melissa A. Simon, MD, MPH

Principal Investigator

Melissa A. Simon, MD, MPH (Contact MPI), is the Gardner Professor of Gynecology, vice chair of Research, and founder/director of the Center for Health Equity Transformation at Feinberg School of Medicine. Simon is the PI of a health equity and community-centered portfolio of over $30 million over 17 years in NIH funds across eight NIH institutes. She is ranked first in the US among OBGYNs in NIH funding in the 2022 Blue Ridge Rankings and has an h-Index of 60. She founded and serves as contact MPI of the Chicago Cancer Health Equity Collaborative (U54CA203000), a partnership between Northwestern University and two local minority-serving institutions. She is PI of the Northwestern University Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Training Program (T37MD014248). Simon was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2021 and was a recipient of the Presidential Award in STEM Mentorship Excellence, the highest mentorship recognition in the nation. She leads the national Women First Research Coalition, serves on the National Academy of Medicine Health Equity Roundtable, and is a past member and current consultant to the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

Clyde W. Yancy, MD, MSc

Principal Investigator

Clyde W. Yancy, MD, MSc (MPI), is vice dean for Diversity and Inclusion, chief of Cardiology and Magerstadt Professor of Medicine (Cardiology), and Medical Social Sciences at Feinberg School of Medicine. As a scholar, he has published over 500 peer-reviewed papers in heart failure, heart transplantation, quality of care, and healthcare disparities. He is a master of the American College of Cardiology, a fellow of the American Heart Association, a master of the American College of Physicians, a fellow of the Heart Failure Society of America, and was elected to membership in the National Academy of Medicine (2016). Yancy has been an indefatigable voice championing equity, leading, and serving on many DEI committees. He has served on the Advisory Committee to the Director for the NIH, is a past member of the NIH ACD Diversity Subcommittee and previously served on the Committee for Health, Science, and Policy for the National Academy of Medicine. In 2018, he was appointed to the Minority Subcommittee, Office of Minority Health, Department of Health and Human Services. Yancy is a former national president of the American Heart Association (2009-2010) and recipient of the National Physician of the Year (AHA) and the AHA Gold Heart Award.

Eric J. Perreault, PhD

Principal Investigator

Eric J. Perreault, PhD (MPI), is associate dean for Research Administration and Oversight in the McCormick School of Engineering and past chair of Biomedical Engineering. He holds joint appointments in Feinberg School of Medicine's Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. His research uses tools from engineering to solve problems in physical medicine and rehabilitation. He is currently PI on two awards from NIH and co-I on additional awards from NIH, NSF, and the VA. Perreault is strongly committed to mentoring. He has trained 17 postdoctoral fellows and 21 PhD students, 16 of whom are tenured or tenure-track faculty. He directs an NIH T32 Training Program in Pathophysiology and Rehabilitation of Neural Dysfunction. He has served as chair of the Biomedical Engineering Council of Chairs for universities across North America and as chair of the NIH NCMRR Function, Integration, and Rehabilitation Sciences Subcommittee. He is the past president of the International Society for Electrophysiology and Kinesiology and chair of the NIH National Advisory Board for Medical Rehabilitation Research. He has leveraged many of these roles to promote diverse, equitable, and inclusive communities. McCormick School of Engineering's biomedical engineering department tripled the number of women faculty during his tenure and greatly expanded the scope, independence, and membership of its DEI committee.

Core Leadership

Luisa Iruela-Arispe, PhD

Faculty Development Core Co-lead

Luisa Iruela-Arispe, PhD, is professor and chair in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at Feinberg School of Medicine. Iruela-Arispe is an internationally recognized expert in vascular biology and vascular disease, is continuously funded by NIH, and has nearly 200 peer-reviewed publications. As a Latina and first-generation college graduate, Iruela-Arispe has embraced improving equity in the sciences and holds a distinguished mentoring track record; since 1994, she has mentored 20 graduate students and 23 postdoctoral fellows, all of whom are now employed in academia or industry, as well as 12 women faculty toward tenure. She has served on committees for several societies and organizations (e.g., AHA, AACR, NAVBO) in capacities that include president (NAVBO 2007). She is currently funded through an NHLBI R35 Outstanding Investigator Award and a U01 award. She also received two Gilliam Howard Hughes Medical Institute awards to mentor URG graduate students.

Susanna A. McColley, MD

Faculty Development Core Co-lead

Susanna A. McColley, MD, is professor of Pediatrics in Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine at Feinberg School of Medicine, associate director for Child Health, and TL1 program director at the NUCATS Institute. She also serves as scientific director of Interdisciplinary Research Partnerships at Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. She is an internationally recognized expert in cystic fibrosis (CF) epidemiology and clinical trials and has a career-long focus on CF health disparities. Her current work is focused on improving equity in CF diagnosis through newborn screening, funded by the Centers for Disease Control, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the Legacy of Angels Foundation. She has mentored numerous trainees and early career faculty, and is a faculty adviser in the Department of Pediatrics Office of Faculty Development. As TL1 director, she mentors and advises graduate students from two designated minority-serving institutions in Chicago: Northeastern Illinois University and Chicago State University. She serves on the Lurie Children’s President’s Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and as co-lead for Health Equity for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation External Racial Justice working group. She and Nia Heard-Garris, MD, MSc, co-lead Northwestern University's Masters of Science in Clinical Investigation Program, called “Anti-Racist Strategies in Clinical and Translational Science.”

Bennett Goldberg, PhD

Evaluation Core Co-lead

Bennett Goldberg, PhD, is a professor of Physics and Astronomy at Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and the faculty director of the newly created Program Evaluation Core at Northwestern. The Program Evaluation Core provides comprehensive evaluation services to the entire Northwestern University community and collaborates closely with evaluation expertise across Northwestern University campuses. He is the former director of Research in Higher Education, Training and Evaluation and former director of the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching. Locally, nationally, and internationally, Goldberg’s work is focused on current and future faculty professional development in inclusive teaching, culturally aware mentoring, and equitable research practices and environments. He is PI of the NSF-funded Inclusive STEM Teaching Project that is on track to train 10,000 current and future faculty impacting 1,000,000 STEM students annually. He has implemented network improvement communities and applied social equity-based collective impact to scale effective strategies for increasing access to higher education for underrepresented groups. He is an expert in designing and implementing equitable program evaluation for large, complex research efforts and has trained PI/PDs nationwide in program evaluation for NIH T32 Training Programs. He has extensive experience and focus on the implementation of DEI efforts from K12 through senior leadership.

Kristi L. Holmes, PhD

Evaluation Core Co-lead

Kristi L. Holmes, PhD, is professor of Preventive Medicine and Medical Education at Feinberg School of Medicine. As director of Evaluation for the NUCATS Institute, she has developed a robust assessment infrastructure of resources and expertise to accomplish program evaluation and research impact assessment for programs, centers, and institutes across Northwestern. She also directs the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) National Evaluation Center assessing the impact, efficacy, and value of NNLM activities, services, and resources across the national NNLM network, with a special focus on impact on persons who experience health disparities and populations underrepresented in biomedical research. She has extensive experience with research impact assessment, as cocreator of the Becker Model, a widely-used framework to find and understand research impact in areas such as Advancement of Knowledge, Clinical Implementation, and Community Benefit. She has led and actively contributed to numerous consortium-level common metrics initiatives, including for the national CTSA Program (NCATS) and Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity (PACHE) Network (NCI). She maintains a keen focus on equitable access to knowledge and meaningful impact.

Faculty Recruitment Ambassadors

Elizabeth McNally, MD, PhD

Elizabeth McNally, MD, PhD, is Director, Center for Genetic Medicine and Elizabeth J. Ward Professor of Genetic Medicine at Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. McNally studies how genetic variation produces cardiovascular and neuromuscular disease. Her research is also investigating how to better implement genetic information to advance human health, including how to better communicate genetic results to diverse communities. She directs the Starzl Academy that mentors physician scientists in training across Feinberg School of Medicine. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. Dr. McNally has trained more than 80 pre and postdoctoral fellows and postbaccalaureates, of which more than half have been women or from other groups underrepresented in biomedical research. Her trainees are successfully engaged in careers in academia, biotech, pharma, and government.

Alfred L. George Jr., MD

Alfred L. George, Jr., MD, is the A.N. Richards Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology at Feinberg School of Medicine. He is an internationally recognized expert in the genetics and pathogenesis of channelopathies with a focus on voltage-gated ion channel genes associated with life-threatening disorders of heart rhythm, epilepsy and other neurodevelopmental diseases. George has continuous funding from the NIH since 1991 including a Jacob Javits Neuroscience Award from the National Institute for Neurological Diseases and Stroke. He was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served in academic leadership for more than 20 years and has a wealth of experience in faculty recruitment and development including nurturing the careers of basic and physician-scientists who succeed in academia.


Magdalena (Maggie) Nava, MPH

Project Manager

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