Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance and the Faster Together project

By 2017 I had 7 years of post-doctoral experience in brain imaging performing complex analysis of data in the field of Clinical Neuroscience.  I had the opportunity to continue in that field, but the challenge of leading the Faster Together project and joining the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance was too appealing. It gave me the chance to use all the skills I acquired throughout my career to the overall goal of reducing health disparities.

Consuelo H. Wilkins is the Executive Director of the Alliance and the Principal Investigator of Faster Together. She is a national leader of Community Engagement in Research and a visionary on new developments to reduce Health Disparities, and she trusted me to lead the Faster Together project back in February 2017.

The Faster Together project is a very complex research project that includes the development of three independent strategies to increase the recruitment and retention of people from ethnic and racial minorities in clinical trials. These strategies include a training module for recruiters, culturally tailoring recruitment materials and have recruitment plans informed by community members. They will be embedded for efficacy testing in large clinical trials.

In this project, I have identified and formed teams that include community leaders, community members, a video production company, librarians, qualitative researchers, quantitative researchers, instructional designers, educators, administrators, marketing and advertising companies, etc. It has been a multidisciplinary team in which community members truly have a voice.

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