DEI Research Grants | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
TTUHSC students walking through Lubbock campus courtyard.

2022 - 2023 DEI Research Grant Recipients

Assessment of Geographical, Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities in Lubbock County and West Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center - $15,000

Investigators: Duke Appiah (JJMPPH); Alice Villalobos (SOM); Richard Greenhill (SHP) ; David Baba (SON); and Chip Shaw (GSBS)

Health disparity is a growing concern in west Texas, a large medically underserved area. Even within a region or city, the distribution of health disparities is not uniform. Racial and ethnic minority populations are often reported to bare the greatest burdens of health disparities. Reducing racial, ethnic and geographic disparities in health is important as it leads to better health outcomes and lowers health care costs. Unfortunately, there are limited quality data for health disparities in the west Texas region, as well as geographic regions in Lubbock County. The overarching aim of this study is to investigate and provide a comprehensive evaluation of racial, ethnic and geographical disparities in health in Lubbock County and west Texas using several large datasets. Machine learning techniques will be used to identify salient clusters of health disparities, while prediction models will be implemented to explore drivers of these health disparities in west Texas.

Curriculum Development and Assessment of Pediatric Residents Training in Social Determinants of Health - $15,000

Investigators: Olubukunola Adesanya (SOM); Rachel May Anderson (SOM); Skyler McLaurin-Jiang (SOM); Nikita Singhi (SOM); Tetyana Vasylveva (SOM); Maha Taranishl (SOM); Chukwunonye Ogbuhi (SOM); Jane Carter (SOM); and Veronica Prosser (NWT Hospital)

Dr. Adesanya’s project proposes to develop a curriculum and train incoming pediatric residents in identifying disparities in social determinants of health (SDOH). Residents will learn how to assess SDOH in pediatric patients and work with clinic social services for a referral process.  Through a pilot study, we learned that incoming pediatric residents have not been trained to assess for SDOH within a clinic setting. Dr. Adesanya and her team will train residents to increase competency in identifying, screening, advocating and addressing SDOH. The training includes two components: lectures on understanding SDOH and how to assess them and implementation of this assessment within a pediatric clinic setting.  The implementation will involve training residents with screening and documenting within the EMR as well as working with clinic social workers to refer and follow-up on referrals.

Exploring the Use of Auxiliary Technology as Methods to Enhance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion of Simulation-Based Experiences - $15,000

Investigators: Kathryn Whitcomb (SimPro); Guy Gilbert (SimPro); Kelsey Launder (SimPro); Sharon Decker (SimPro); and Sandra Caballero (SimPro)

The goal of this project is to enhance learner humility, competence and sensitivity utilizing visual and verbal contexts provided through auxiliary technology (e.g. quick response (QR) codes; synthetic media) integrated into simulation-based experiences (SBEs). DEI-augmented SBEs will be delivered in various formats (e.g. in-person; remote; telemedicine; and/or a hybrid approach). The strategic framework for this project is based on fostering cultural humility, providing opportunities for learners to engage in experiences that incorporate diverse populations, and utilizing alternative instructional methods while demonstrating accountability within Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). This framework was employed in the development of the TTUHSC Simulation Program’s DEI Rubric, which will be utilized to assess the outcomes of these augmented SBEs.

Holistic Admissions as a Process to Increase Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: A Feasibility Study of an Evidence-Based Admissions Redesign – $14,668

Investigators: Rosalinda Jimenez (SON); Pat Francis-Johnson (SON); Lisa Campbell (SON); Chris Esperate (SON); Huaxin Song (SON); and Lauren Sullivan (SON)

TTUHSC School of Nursing's mission to educate students for practice in evolving healthcare systems and to advance knowledge and practice through research, service, and community engagement has been successful. It has 22 different programs, including bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs.  We seek to correct the critical nursing shortage both in our communities and across the nation with a holistic admission component to the school of the nursing admissions process which has the potential to increase, support, and matriculate diverse student populations. This project uses the mixed methods design, combining quantitative and qualitative data. The Holistic Admissions Process protocol will be developed and tested for feasibility. The members of the Admissions Committee will be trained using the development activities available from the American Association of College of Nurses. The Holistic Admissions Review in Academic Nursing 2.0, Advancing Cultural Humility in Nursing Education, and Understanding and Overcoming Unconscious Bias training were selected. 

Implementing Individual Mental Health Treatment and Respite for Hispanic Informal Caregivers of Individuals with Dementia - $14,500

Investigators: Jonathan Singer (SOM) and Volker Neugebauer (Garrison Institute of Aging, SOM)

Garrison Institute of Aging, Dr. Jonathan Singer, and Dr. Volker Neugebauer are excited to announce their interdepartmental (Department of Psychiatry; Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience at TTUHSC) and multi-site (TTU; TTUHSC) collaboration to improve healthcare for an understudied and underserved population. Their team will implement individual mental health services for Hispanic informal caregivers of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia (ADRD) patients and provide both respite care and weekly therapeutic recreation (e.g., music, arts, and crafts) for individuals with ADRD. This project will provide the West Texas community with clinical services and respite over the span of a year. Successful completion of this project will significantly advance our understanding about the impact of respite and mental health services on Hispanic informal caregiver’s quality of life and caregiver burden. Further, it will provide an understanding of the effect (e.g., quality of life; neurocognitive functioning) of weekly therapeutic recreation on persons with ADRD.

Provider Microskills and Patients’ Lived Experiences: A Pilot Study - $14,800

Investigators: Christopher Townsend (SHP); Tobias Kroll (SHP); Rosalinda Jimenez (SON); Toby Brooks (SHP); and Alec Cattell (TTU TLPDC)

Patients from BIPOC populations have worse healthcare outcomes than European Americans. Providers contribute to this disparity. Unskillful interactions across racial, ethnic, and cultural barriers can harden the latter, resulting in biased reasoning on the part of providers, and non-adherence or avoidance of care on the part of patients. Skillful interactional behaviors—microskills—include eye gaze, body posture, empathetic interpretation, inquiring, paraphrasing and reflecting feelings. Basic research is needed to understand whether they could help bridge barriers to care. Our phenomenological study addresses the question, Do BIPOC patients believe provider microskills could make a difference in their lived experience of care? In focus groups and individual interviews, BIPOC patients will be asked about the role provider microskills played in their experience, and whether better microskills could have improved it. If BIPOC patients believe provider microskills make a difference in their care, students in the health professions should receive pertinent training. 

Interprofessional Mass Casualty Simulation as a Vehicle to Teach Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity - $15,000

Investigator: Renée Bogschutz (IPE)

Mass casualty and multi-victim incidents have significantly increased in recent years due to a number of factors including natural disasters and terrorism. Conducting simulations and drills is the most effective way to evaluate and test disaster preparedness plans. Disaster simulations in particular challenge health professions learners and clinicians to examine and take action on the underlying assumptions and the conventional thinking about health and social factors. Disaster simulations are also excellent tools for assessing interprofessional decision-making processes, teamwork, communication, and coordination skills. Additionally, simulations that address disaster or mass casualty events are an effective method to teach social determinants of health and health equity competencies; foster interprofessional development and team identity; share/showcase community resources; and develop quality and safety skills for health professions learners. This DEI curriculum development grant aims to use a mass causality simulation to train teams of interprofessional learners on social determinants of health, health equity, and community/public health resources. Disaster Day: An Interprofessional Mass Casualty Simulation will occur on the Lubbock and Amarillo campuses annually in the Spring Semester.

Establishing a student-centered mentoring program for medical students underrepresented in medicine (URM) at the multi-campus system of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center - $8,580 

Investigators: Alice Villalobos (SOM); Katie Corkill (SOM); Raja Kiani (SOM); Kenneth Iwuji (SOM)

Mentoring supports retention and success of students underrepresented in medicine (URM) and cultivated equity and inclusion.  Our long-term goal is to sustain an impactful student-centered mentoring program at TTUHSC-SOM for all URM medical students throughout their training.  To that end, our immediate aim is to establish a group-mentoring program for 1st- and 2nd-year students and an individual mentoring program for 3rd-year students, focusing on members of the TTUHSC Student National Medical Association who are predominantly Black and African-American.  So that students can meet and be mentored by larger representation of faculty, faculty mentors recruited from all TTUHSC campuses meet via Zoom® with 1st-and 2nd-year students at group-mentoring meetings held several times throughout the year.  Several 3rd-year students have been paired 1:1 with faculty mentors at their respective clerkship campus. Finally, professional development workshops will be held to help students hone preparation of curriculum vitae and personal statements and presentation skills.  

DEI Research Grants

Proposals Due August 1, 2022

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (the Office) in collaboration with the Office of Research and the Office of the Provost is pleased to support research initiatives led by team members with a connection to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

The maximum grant is $15,000. Team members are only eligible to receive this grant once in a three-year period. See more information below regarding eligibility. The grant period is September 1 – August 31. 

Grantees will be required to present on their research initiative at symposium type event organized by or in partnership with the Office (estimated to be in September following the grant period) to share the findings of their work with the TTUHSC community. This will also serve as an opportunity to raise awareness to DEI involving health matters.

Funding Opportunities

  • Proposals that provide a means to advance DEI research and scholarly activities with potential to lead to publication or applications to further grant funding. Research may be on any topic that connects DEI and the mission of TTUHSC. These grants may support research on health disparities and health equity, underrepresented populations-based research, and more.
  • Proposals that support DEI activities involving curriculum development and/or learning sciences that will impact student learning/training and institutional culture. This funding opportunity supports research that may pilot new and innovative pedagogical initiatives that will have great impact across disciplines and curriculum while incorporating DEI. 



Below are examples of how these grants may be used include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Curriculum development & assessment
  • Data collection
  • Faculty buy-out/release (Note: Faculty buyout/release proposals will only by considered if a strongly-compelling case is made in the applicant’s submission)
  • Pilot study
  • Student Research Assistants 
  • Survey/instrument design


Tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure-track faculty as well as staff and instructors with defined research and/or academic duties are eligible to apply. All applicants must have expressed approval from their department chair/supervisor for this work. Applications lacking chair/supervisor approval will not be considered.

Applications that support collaboration across the TTUHSC enterprise will be viewed favorably during the review process. Applicants are encouraged to consider collaborative approaches in the design of their research study.

Grant recipients are ineligible to apply for 2 years after the conclusion of their grant cycle.

Proposal Requirements

Proposals describing the research initiative should not exceed two (2) pages and should include a timeline and detailed budget. 

Applicants must submit the following supplemental information:

  • Recent curriculum vitae
  • Letter of support from respective academic department chair/supervisor

Review Criteria and Process

Funding opportunities are limited and will be available until funds are exhausted. Proposals will be evaluated after the August 1 deadline. It is anticipated that six grant proposals will be funded. A greater quantity may be funded contingent on the dollar amounts requested and the availability of funds in the DEI Research Grants program (e.g., a recipient did not request the maximum $15,000 and additional funds are available).

The Office will review and evaluate proposals received for effectiveness and compatibility with the TTUHSC DEI Purpose Statement and the institution’s mission. If multiple proposals are received from a school, the Dean (or their proxy) may be consulted during the review process to provide feedback on the merit of the proposal through the lens of their respective field.


DEI Research Grants submissions should go to by August 1, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. Questions should be directed to the Office at 806.743.4195. 

Definitions and Statements

Diversity: Presence and representation of individuals from a wide range of intrinsic and social identity statuses, including, but not limited to ability, age, class, color, culture, ethnicity, gender expression, gender identity, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and veteran status. 

Equity: Provision of equal advantage for individuals in recognition that social statuses impact equality. Equity seeks to alleviate built barriers that may prevent access to authentic equality, wherein all individuals have comparable opportunity for success and sense of affinity.

Inclusion: Active and authentic involvement of individuals from a diverse set of backgrounds and identities in the advancement and success of the institution.

Learning Sciences: According to Benassi et al. (2014), learning sciences are understood to be the systematic and empirical approach to understanding how people learn. 

Research: Creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings. 

TTUHSC DEI Purpose Statement: “Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center is committed to creating learning and working environments that are comprised of individuals of all social and intrinsic identities and backgrounds. TTUHSC strives to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion through the removal of barriers for historically marginalized individuals to continue creating greater access. In an effort to continue transforming healthcare through innovation and collaboration, TTUHSC will cultivate a climate that is intentional, welcoming, and affirming of each individual. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center will serve as a community for culturally competent healthcare that considers individuals from all walks of life,” (DEI Committee Revised Charter, 2022).

TTUHSC Mission: “Enhance the lives of others by education students to become collaborative health care professionals, providing excellent patient care and advancing knowledge through innovative research,” (Strategic Plan FY 2022-2027).

Access a PDF of the above guidelines here.