OHSU Building Up Program

A diverse group of four post docs and early career faculty sit on a wooden bench holding laptops and books and looking happy to be there together.

What is Building Up?

Building Up is a year-long, evidence-based, cohort-style program based on the Career Education and Enhancement for Healthcare Research Diversity program developed at the University of Pittsburgh. The NIGMS funded the nationwide Building Up study, which tested and demonstrated the effectiveness of this career development methodology. Visit the national Building Up program website to learn more.

Who is Building Up designed for?

The OHSU Building Up program is designed for postdocs and early career faculty who are underrepresented in health sciences to advance their research careers through rigorous career development in a supportive, inclusive, and peer-led community.

Key program activities

Our goal is to transform the success and retention of diverse postdocs and faculty pursuing health research careers at OHSU through four key program activities:

  • Curated skill- and community-building via monthly seminars
  • Two-tiered peer mentorship
  • Networking across the career spectrum
  • Critical grant and manuscript writing resources and support

Some of the activities are exclusive to Building Up Scholars, while others are open to all postdocs and early career faculty interested in health research careers. 

Review details about each program component below.

    Blue icon of a person leading a seminar at presentation board.

    Building Up supports Scholars by assembling a robust toolkit of career and interpersonal resources that are critical for success. These resources are disseminated via a monthly training seminar. 

    • Seminars feature two core topics focused on research skill development and community building.
    • Seminars are led by diverse, dynamic, mid- to senior-level OHSU leaders, who will introduce tools that attendees will practice in-session.
    • Attendees are provided curated resource lists to further their skill development. 

    Sample seminar topics include: Wellness and mindfulness, project management, hidden curriculum, finding your voice with leaders, conflict resolution, poster development, biosketches and CVs.

    Blue icon of two people next to each other with bidirectional arrows pointing between them.

    Building Up features a two-tiered mentoring model that includes:

    • Culturally-inclusive mentoring workshop at the beginning of your Scholar journey
    • Near-peer mentor support for developing a one-year individualized career development plan

    Near-peer mentors meet with Scholars and their content mentors at least bi-annually to review progress and assist Scholars with advocating for additional resources to achieve the goals outlined in their plan.

    Blue icon of people in blue circles. The circles are connected to each other with lines. Approximation of a network diagram.

    Building Up Scholars will contribute to an interprofessional network of health science researchers and middle- to senior-level OHSU leaders who are committed to supporting Scholar career development. 

    To facilitate this, Building Up hosts two annual networking events:

    • Kickoff reception in the fall that is co-sponsored by OHSU programs and departments that are committed to diverse postdoc and early career faculty success
    • Poster session in the spring, scheduled during OHSU's Research Week, where Scholars will present their research and will be joined by a community of program supporters
    Blue icon of a written document with an award ribbon at top left and a checklist at the bottom.

    Building Up Scholars will participate in courses, workshops, and learning communities that are focused on manuscript and grant development. The goals are to 1) advance dissemination of Scholar research findings and 2) prepare Scholars for submission of competitive applications for early career grants and awards.

    Key activities include: Writing to publish, mock grant review, development and scoring of a specific aims page, project management skills for grant writing, how to select journals, and creating graphics.

    How is Building Up unique?

    Building Up works synergistically with existing OHSU programs to gather resources and support that are curated specifically to meet the needs of postdocs and early career faculty pursuing health research careers.

      Unique features of the OHSU Building Up program include:

      • Led by near-peer directors who have recent experiences navigating health research programs
      • Open to health researchers across a variety of fields and disciplines
      • Pairs skill building with community building
      • Collaborates closely with local and national partners

        Application details

        Building Up is a 12-month program (starting September 1 and ending August 31) that requires at least monthly in-person and virtual engagement with the Building Up community. The inaugural cohort of OHSU Building Up will be recruited in Spring 2024.

        Postdoctoral trainees and junior faculty who are interested in pursuing a careers in health research and who are from underrepresented populations are strongly encouraged to apply. This includes individuals from African American/Black, Hispanic, Native/American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Island populations and individuals with disabilities. Career development awards are not required.

        Candidates must have/be:

        • A doctoral degree at the time of program start (e.g., MD, PhD, PharmD, DMD, DDS)
        • Committed to a career in health research
        • Prepared to devote 12 consecutive months to research training
        • At least 50% protected research effort for the 12-month period
        • In the mentored phase of career development (i.e., not a current or previous recipient of an NIH R01 award)

        If you have any questions about your eligibility, please do not hesitate to contact us.

        All potential participants are expected to provide the following three application components:

        1. One-page personal statement describing your research interests and how the program will benefit your career
        2. Curriculum vitae
        3. Letter of support from the director of your postdoctoral program (post docs) or department chair (early career faculty)

        Those selected as finalists will also complete an interview with the application review committee.

        Building Up will begin accepting applications via REDCap in Spring 2024. If you anticipate a need for accommodations to complete our application or would like to be added to our contact list, please email us at buildingup@ohsu.edu

        • Application opens in REDCap: May-June 2024
        • Review applications and interview finalists: June-July 2024
        • Acceptance letters sent: late July 2024
        • Near-Peers mentors meet with each selected Building Up Scholar and content mentors: July-September 2024

        Partners and collaborators

        The OHSU Building Up Program works closely with local partners to maximize resources and support for Building Up Scholars and all diverse early career post docs and faculty at OHSU. 

        Logo for the OHSU Fellowship for Diversity in Research program, which is abbreviated OFDIR. OFDIR is spelled out in colorful letters with silhouettes of a diverse set of people behind the letters.

        OHSU Fellowship for Diversity in Research

        Recruits scientists from minoritized races/ethnicities to increase the diversity of the OHSU research community. Visit the website.

        Logo for the Northwest Native American Center of Excellence. Two abstract hands reaching for each other surround by a oval.

        Northwest Native American Center of Excellence

        Recruits, trains, and retains American Indian/Alaska Native individuals in the health professions. Visit the website.

        Logo for the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).

        Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science

        Fosters the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in attaining advanced degrees and positions of leadership in STEM. Email sacnas@ohsu.edu for more information.

        Logo for OHSU Mentorship Academy. Ghosted compass over a yellow gold award ribbon shape with OHSU flame logo.

        OHSU Mentorship Academy

        Accelerates the process of becoming an effective mentor, including culturally aware mentor training. Visit the website.

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        Gender Equity in Academic Health and Medicine (GEAHM) committee

        Addresses issues important to women and gender diverse individuals across OHSU. Visit the website.

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        Postdoctoral Affairs Office

        Supports the career development of all OHSU postdoctoral scholars from arrival to departure. Visit the website.

        Logo for the School of Medicine Early Career advancement Program.

        School of Medicine Early Career Advancement Program

        Provides hands-on interactive workshops aimed at helping early career faculty succeed. Visit the website.

        Building Up events

        Check back this fall for Building Up events.

        For now, check out the OCTRI Events page for career and skill development opportunities. 

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        Questions about Building Up?

        Reach out to the team!


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        Building Up is accepting applications in Spring 2024!

        Check back on May 1 for application details

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        Monthly training seminars

        Career development opportunities open to post docs and early career faculty coming Fall 2024

        Meet our team

        Headshot of De'Sha Wolf

        De'Sha Wolf, PhD
        Co-Director, Building Up

        Professional portrait of Estela Cirila Vasquez Guzman, PhD, Co-Director of OHSU Building Up Program

        Cirila Estela Vasquez Guzman, PhD
        Co-Director, Building Up

        Headshot of a woman

        Amy Ciolek
        Program Coordinator