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Applied learning fellowships

The Center for Disaster Resilient Communities offers training in environmental and public health disaster research methods and skills for up to 25 advanced graduate students and early career hazards and disaster researchers a year from across the United States. The goals of this program, Increasing Diversity in and Equitable Access to Applied Learning in Disaster Research Response: IDEAAL DR2, are to:

  1. Increase the knowledge and awareness of environmental and public health disaster research methods and skills among interdisciplinary, early career researchers who are interested in conducting public health-focused hazards and disaster research; and,
  2. Increase diversity, equity and inclusion in hazards and disaster research by offering access to the necessary training, equipment, technology and advising to support early-career researchers from historically underrepresented backgrounds in the development and completion of their own research projects.

The program’s short course consists of prerequisite readings and online training, an in-person, highly interactive weeklong intensive set of five modules, and an applied research experience. The weeklong in-person component of this research-training program is held at the University of Washington campus in Seattle. During this in-person portion, participants will receive hands-on training in Disaster Research Response methods and skills. After the completion of this in-person component of the course, participants will return to their home institutions to complete their research projects.

As part of the program, the Center is collaborating on the recruitment of Fellows with The William Averette Anderson Fund for Hazard and Disaster Mitigation Education and Research, also known as the Bill Anderson Fund (BAF), which is the premiere nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting underrepresented minority scholars in hazards and disaster research. Each year, five BAF IDEAAL Fellows will be matched with dedicated advisors, also recruited in partnership with the BAF, and granted an annual stipend to design and implement a collaborative research project leading to a publishable manuscript over the course of the year.

The time commitment for this program includes online pre-course training not to exceed 20 hours over the course of two months and a week of in-person instruction at the University of Washington campus in Seattle. Activities include monthly training workshops and peer learning group meetings in the year following the in-person week to support participants’ individual research projects. Bill Anderson Fund Fellows will meet regularly with an advisor for individual guidance on their research project and professional advising.

The learning objectives covered by the in-person training are as follows:

1. Foundations of disaster research

  • Explain the role and importance of conducting research in the context of disasters and public health emergencies.
  • Describe administrative and logistical barriers to the conduct of public environmental health research in the context of a disaster.
  • Explain key ethical considerations when designing and implementing research in the context of a disaster.
  • Design strategies to minimize health and safety risks while conducting research in the context of a disaster.

2. Community-engaged disaster research and disaster justice

  • Understand how systemic injustices shape environmental risk and disaster impacts.
  • Demonstrate the ability to promote fair treatment and meaningful involvement of marginalized groups in efforts to address and investigate issues that exacerbate their disaster risk
  • Identify strategies for co-production of hazards and disaster research before, during and after a disaster.
  • Apply principles of risk and science communication to communicate with diverse stakeholders before, during and after a public health emergency.
  • Explain key components of public health emergency response, including emergency plans, key stakeholders and the incident command system (ICS).

3. Disaster research methods

  • Explain applications of implementation science, exposure science, epidemiology, and data science in disasters, as well as key considerations to using these approaches in a disaster context.
  • Compare and contrast different scientific approaches to conducting environmental and public health research in the context of a disaster.
  • Generate research questions that apply environmental and public health scientific approaches.

4. Tools and instrumentation for disaster research

  • Identify and select appropriate methods and tools to collect perishable data in the context of a disaster.
  • Describe approaches and support to safely, securely and rapidly curate, manage and share perishable data collected to answer environmental and public health disaster research questions.

5. Disaster research design and implementation

  • Identify funding sources and develop competitive grants applications to support disaster research response.
  • Design and implement an environmental and public health disaster research project that results in a paper of publishable quality.

Early career researchers, including but not limited to assistant professors, research scientists, postdoctoral scholars, advanced graduate students and others in equivalent roles in non-university settings who are interested in performing environmental and public health disaster research are eligible and encouraged to apply.

Candidates of any identity and background are welcome to apply. We particularly invite applications from those with diverse lived experiences, such as BIPOC scholars, LGBTQIA+ scholars, scholars from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, first-generation scholars and scholars from communities that experience disproportionate disaster risk.

This program is designed for researchers based in the United States. International applicants will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Applicants must be a current or former Bill Anderson Fund Fellow to be eligible for the BAF IDEAAL Fellowship.

Bill Anderson Fund Fellows will receive a $5,000 stipend to support work on their project over the course of the year.

Need-based travel stipends are available for all other applicants to travel to Seattle for the week of in-person training.

  • Application opens: March 1, 2024
  • Priority Application Review: March 29, 2024 (9 p.m. PST)
  • Applicants notified: Applications received by the priority application deadline will be notified by no later than May 1, 2024.

To apply, please complete our online application. The application includes six short answer questions with a 250 to 300 word limit for each question as well as questions about yourself and a place to upload your current resume or CV. There is also a set of optional demographic questions. This demographic information will be used to evaluate our outreach and recruitment processes and will not be used to assess your application nor will they be shared with those evaluating your application.

A version of the application questions is available for download. We recommend that applicants draft their short answer questions in a separate document as the REDCap may not reliably spell check or track word count.

Applications will be reviewed by at least two members of the IDEAAL DR2 program team.

Applicants will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Research Training: Demonstrated training or experience in research related to the health or social impacts of disasters, climate change, or public health emergencies.
  • Foundational Knowledge: Demonstrated public health foundational knowledge, including through prior coursework, training, research, or applied practice experience(s). *This includes mental health and other broad health implications.
  • Impact of Training – Individual Research: Has identified a research question or interest related to public health disasters (type of disaster, health impact, etc).
  • Impact of Training – Disaster Justice: Demonstrated commitment to and/or ability to execute ethical and transparent research and/or support disaster justice.
  • Impact of Training – Disaster Justice: Demonstrated commitment to reciprocal research practices.
  • Community-Engaged Research: Demonstrated interest, training, and/or experience with community-engaged research, outreach, or science communications.

Questions regarding the program, application process and/or eligibility can be directed to Juliette Randazza via email at jrandazz@uw.edu. Questions regarding the BAF IDEAAL fellow eligibility and programming can be directed to Nnenia Campbell via email at nnenia@billandersonfund.org.

This program is funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, award number R25ES035573.