LAUNCHED is Recruiting Underrepresented Minority Scientists

Now Recruiting Underrepresented Minority Scientists: LAUNCHED

(The Louisiana Center for Advancing Underrepresented Scientists Careers in Health, Nutrition, Obesity, and Disparities Research)

The Louisiana Center for Advancing Underrepresented Scientists Careers in Health, Nutrition, Obesity, and Disparities Research (LAUNCHED) is a comprehensive program designed to provide mentorship, training, and career development opportunities for underrepresented minority (URM) scientists in nutrition, obesity, diabetes, and related research. LAUNCHED is a highly innovative training program with the long-term goal of increasing the success rate of underrepresented ethnic minority scientists competing for federal research funding in the fields of nutrition, obesity, and diabetes. Located in the Deep South, LAUNCHED is focusing on providing training to scientists in Louisiana and neighboring states. A diverse workforce is important to academic productivity. However, there are several groups of scientists, including racial and ethnic minority groups, who are currently underrepresented in academia. This underrepresentation has a direct effect on scientific research in general, but especially within health disparities research, including studies related to nutrition, obesity, and/or diabetes. The goal of LAUNCHED is to increase the success rate of URM scientists being awarded federal research funding, particularly in areas relevant to the National Institute for Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).  The LAUNCHED program is funded by the NIDDK and is a collaboration among several institutions, including Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Southern University, Louisiana State University (LSU) A&M, Xavier University of Louisiana, Tulane University, and LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans (LSUHSC-NO).

We are looking for early career scientists (post-doctoral fellows and early career faculty) from institutions in Louisiana and neighboring states with an interest in diabetes, nutrition, and/or obesity research from underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups. Applicants must have a PhD or MD equivalent degree and there is no citizenship requirement. Additional information can also be found on our website at Should you have any questions at this time, please feel free to contact us at We are very excited to give deserving applicants the opportunities that LAUNCHED has to offer!

Apply here today.

Compretta Joins Leadership of the Office of Research at UMC

Caroline Compretta, PhD Joins Leadership of the Office of Research at University of Mississippi Medical Center

Forge AHEAD is excited to announce Dr. Caroline Compretta’s new appointment as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research at University of Mississippi Medical Center. Dr. Compretta is a charismatic and innovative researcher whose unique experience grounds her in the communities she serves. Drs. Bidwell and Compretta will lead the research enterprise of Mississippi’s only academic medical center, University of Mississippi Medical Center upon the retirement of Dr. Joey Granger on June 30, 2023. Dr. Granger stated in an announcement that “[t]he duo represents a dynamic pairing: Dr. Bidwell’s unique and extensive basic science and translational research experience complements Dr. Compretta’s impressive track record in translational and population health research. Under their leadership, we anticipate continued growth of all aspects of the Medical Center’s research mission.”

In this new role, Dr. Compretta will work to grow the body of community-engaged research at University of Mississippi Medical Center and foster new research collaborations. In addition to her ongoing research and work with Forge AHEAD, Dr. Compretta holds leadership roles in three National Institutes of Health-funded centers. 

2023 Methods Symposium

2023 Methods Symposium: Scientific Methods to Support Health Equity Research

Forge AHEAD partnered with UAB COERE to host the 2023 Methods Symposium on “Scientific Methods To Support Health Equity Research” on Thursday, January 19, 2023.

The hybrid, half-day symposium was designed to provide local and national attendees with an overview of recent developments and current projects related to scientific methods that support health equity research.

A total of 185 attended with 60 in-person including 143 from UAB and 35 from external institutions.

The symposium featured four speakers: Dione King, PhD (University of Alabama at Birmingham), Gbenga Ogedegbe, MD, MPH (NYU Grossman School of Medicine), Brita Roy, MD, MPH, MHS (NYU Grossman School of Medicine), and Patrick Sullivan, DVM, PhD (Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health). Dr. Ogedegbe, this year’s Meredith Kilgore Endowed Lecturer, presented an inspired talk that chronicled his journey to become a world-renowned physician scientist and leading expert on health disparities research. 

Speakers met with attendees for a networking lunch to continue the great discussion generated from each of their talks. As part of this event, Forge AHEAD hosted a dinner with the four speakers, early-stage investigators, and Center members.

Dione King, PhD (UAB)
Incorporating Photovoice into adolescent and young adult (AYA)
social and behavioral health research
View the recorded presentation.

Gbenga Ogedegbe, MD, MPH (NYU)
Having Impact Through Research:
You See My Glory But You Don’t Know My Story
View the recorded presentation.

Brita Roy, MD, MPH, MHS (NYU)
Collective Well-being:
A Framework to Improve Population Health
View the recorded presentation..

Patrick Sullivan, DVM, PhD (Emory University)
Metrics for monitoring PrEP uptake:
An equity-based approach
View the recorded presentation.