Loan Repayment Program to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in Medicine

The Loan Repayment Program to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in Medicine (LRPDIM) is part of a series of mentored career development opportunities offered by the Department of Medicine.

The Award is designed to fund underrepresented minorities in medicine who, as a group, are disproportionately impacted by student loans. This financial burden impedes retention, recruitment, and diversification of research faculty in our department. The LRPDIM award repays up to $50,000, annually for up to two years, of a researcher's qualified educational debt in return for a commitment to engage in research.

About the Award

This opportunity will be awarded based on a competitive selection process.

Eligibility

To qualify for Loan Repayment Program to Promote Diversity and Inclusion, a faculty member or senior research fellow (with appointment offer to join department as research faculty) must meet these criteria:

  • Demonstrate qualified educational loan debt* of, at least 20% total base salary.
  • Be eligible for the NIH Loan Repayment Program but either:
    • Denied by NIH or
    • Unable to apply**
  • Be a self-identified member of a group underrepresented in medicine.***
  • Hold a full-time primary appointment in good standing within the Duke Department of Medicine.
  • Provide letters of support from mentor and division chief.

* Qualified educational loans are loans that were used for school tuition or other reasonable educational or living expenses (including room/board and transportation) while attending undergraduate, graduate, medical, dental, or veterinary schools. LRPDIM awards are not retroactive, thus loan balances paid down or paid-in-full prior to the start date of an LRPDIM award will not be factored in the calculation of an award. The Department, like NIH, also will not repay any late fees, penalty fees, additional interest charges, or collection costs.

**  If ineligible for NIH LRP due to PDC income, the faculty member and Division chief are expected to make an effort to reassign that faculty member's clinical effort to non-PDC (i.e., VA or DUHS) so they become eligible to apply to NIH. But if that isn't possible or is inadvisable for other reasons (e.g., the faculty member’s research relies on their work in a PDC clinic), then that faculty member would be eligible.

***  The Department of Medicine uses the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) working definition of racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented in medicine minority (URM). The NIH definition of underrepresented in medicine includes the following racial and ethnic groups: Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders (https://diversity.nih.gov/about-us/population-underrepresented).

Award Allocation Plan

  • The LRPDIM award is in the amount of $50,000/year for up to two years, and is disbursed in quarterly supplemental payments, starting in July of award year 1. A gross-up formula will be used when payments are issued to cover additional taxes incurred by recipients.
  • Up to two applicants will be funded each year.
  • The award recipient must remain a full-time employee of DOM in order to receive the full amount of the award.
  • Each award recipient meets with the Vice Chair of Finance & Administration or the Division Administrator to discuss the payment of award funds and the distribution schedule.
  • Award funds are not restricted and can be used at the awardee’s discretion.
  • The award period is up to two years and is not renewable.
  • In return for loan repayments, LRPDIM recipients are obligated to conduct qualifying research for at least 50 percent of their time for two years. 
  • Revised applications are not allowed, but denied applicants can re-apply in subsequent years.

Application Process

  • April 1 – May 15: If either ineligible for the NIH LRP because of PDC member status or not accepted into the NIH LRP, then apply for the Department LRPDIM program.
  • The LRPDIM application comprises four sections:
    • From the applicant:
    1. NIH Biosketch: Submit a non-fellowship biosketch in the current NIH format. 
    2. Personal Statement: One (1) page limit. Describe why you are a strong candidate for an LRP award and your potential to succeed as an independent researcher. Relevant factors may include your previous research training and/or previous research work, your short and long-term academic and research objectives, any relevant academic/professional achievements or honors, any research project support awards, and any significant contributions to science.
    3. Career Development Plan and Mentoring Plan: Describe how this plan will foster the development of your career in research. This description should include not only your research, but also other developmental activities such as grant submissions, seminars, scientific meetings, training in the responsible conduct of research, presentations, etc. Include information on planned (and prior) participation in DOM- and SOM-sponsored career development opportunities.
    4. Documentation of Qualified Educational Loan Debt: The LRPDIM requires that you provide a promissory note, account statement and a Federal Student Aid (FSA) report for each loan listed in your application. Total debt must equal or exceed 20% of total base salary.
    • From the applicant's mentor:
    1. Mentor Biographical Sketch
    2. Mentor Statement demonstrating existing relationship with applicant and clear commitment to provide sufficient time and resources to assure that the applicant can achieve research and career development goals.
    • From the Division or Department:
    1. Division Chief Letter of Recommendation indicating their support for this candidate as someone with (a) strong potential for success as an investigator; (b) valuable member of the division to further its research mission; and (c) chief’s commitment to provide resources to further the candidate’s career.
    2. The division is expected to use discretionary funds to cover the award.  If division discretionary funds are not available to fully fund the award, the department will pay in part or in full.  A brief statement of division funding need documenting the following is required:  (1) reasons why clinical assignment at the VA or DUHS is not an option and (2) limited access to divisional discretionary funds.
  • Download and complete the application form. Submit all application materials via email to DOM.LRPDMI.Award@duke.edu as one PDF document.
  • Deadline for applying is May 15, 2022, at 5 pm.

Review Criteria

  • Strength of the candidate and his/her potential to transition to independent research
  • Scientific and mentoring track record of the mentor
  • Strong research plan that is likely to lead to subsequent scientific and funding success
  • Adequate career development plan that will prepare candidate to do proposed project and future research
  • Meets criteria for salary and outstanding educational loans

Award Notification

  • The application and all the required documents must be submitted no later than the application due date of May 15.
  • Candidates will be notified when application is received via email.
  • LRPDIM applications are reviewed by a standing review committee comprising senior investigators in DOM, with additional ad hoc members as needed for content expertise. The review process will mimic NIH process – i.e., each application will receive primary and secondary reviews; reviewers provide initial scoring; competitive applications are discussed and scored by the full committee; final decision is made by Dr. Kathleen Cooney based on final scores and any relevant programmatic priorities.
  • Final notification of awards will be made by July 1.

Application Form

Download the application form (an editable Word document), complete it, and save as single PDF. Email PDF as attachment to DOM.LRPDMI.Award@duke.edu.

Progress Report

Recipients are required to provide a progress report to the Department Chair toward the end of Year 1; adequate progress is required to qualify for Year 2 funding.

Project Contact

For questions regarding guidelines, eligibility requirements, review criteria, or for other information related to this program, please contact:

Joan Dupont, PhD
Administrative Operations Manager
Department of Medicine, Chair's Office
joan.dupont@duke.edu