Duke CTSI launches Center for Pathway Programs to enhance opportunities for underrepresented students and faculty

April 15, 2021

The Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute is launching a new Center for Pathway Programs to support professional development programming that enhances career opportunities for underrepresented students and early-career trainees.

Dr Tony Fuller Duke CTSI
Dr. Tony Fuller

Under the leadership of founding director Dr. Tony Fuller and co-director Dr. Charles Muiruri, the Center has the long-term vision of mitigating the impact of societal inequities on educational attainment and advancement for underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students through systematic Pathway programming that diversifies the biomedical workforce. The Center will be based in CTSI and serve as the coordinating center for Duke Health Pathway initiatives.

Both Drs. Fuller and Muiruri have distinguished track records of addressing local and global disparities of access to career development opportunities.

Dr. Fuller, Assistant Professor in Neurosurgery and Associate Director for the Division of Global Neurosurgery and Neurology, has taken on leadership roles with a variety of Pathway programs at Duke. Dr. Muiruri, Assistant Professor in the Duke Department of Population Health Sciences and the Duke Global Health Institute, brings an international perspective to this Center in his work with the NIH to build research capacity in Africa.

Dr Charles Muiruri Duke CTSI
Dr. Charles Muiruri

Duke Health hosts more than 30 different Pathway programs that foster education and career development. However, these programs currently exist in siloes with limited long-term tracking of participants and linkages from one program to the next. The Center aims to fill this gap by actively working with stakeholders to develop a cohesive approach and a shared platform to achieve overall workforce goals. There is a dearth of data on the effectiveness of pathway programs and the Center intends to advance the rigor and diversity of research on pathway program effectiveness. Additionally, there is a scarcity of mentors for pathway programs caused by both a lack of mentors and a lack of knowledge of how to engage in pathway programs. The Center intends to introduce an innovative “cascading” mentoring model, developing mentoring expertise at different levels of education in pathway programs.

A key element of this learning process is the responsibility to report back to the stakeholders about who is being served, how programs are implementing their efforts, and how interventions are making a positive impact. The Center will facilitate connections, data collection, and tracking initiatives to advise and support these existing programs. A needs assessment among many of the existing programs at Duke has been completed, and the insights from this assessment have helped to form the structure of this Center and the prioritization of future initiatives and partnerships.

We look forward to working with Drs. Fuller and Muiruri as they implement their vision for providing streamlined, intentional, and long-term access to quality educational and career development opportunities for our underrepresented minority students and trainees in NC.