Early Career Faculty Shine at ISGMH with Multiple R01s

ISGMH has had a very successful year, in part due to the breadth of grant funding received by investigators. NIH awarded three of ISGMH’s early career faculty members with their first R01 grants in 2016. While the average age of first-time R01 funding for a Ph.D.-level investigator is 42, all of these faculty members are under 35.

A headshot of Dr. Gregory Phillips.In March, Dr. Gregory Phillips II, Director of the Evaluation, Data Integration, and Technical Assistance (EDIT) Program in ISGMH, was awarded his first R01, from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for his project “Role of Alcohol Disparities in HIV Risk among Sexual Minority Youth (SMY).” The primary aim of the grant is to assess the impact of alcohol use on the sexual, mental, and physical health of SMY living in the U.S., utilizing data from regional and national administrations of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Dr. Phillips will make the final data set publicly available to other researchers interested in SMY health behaviors.

A headshot of Dr. Michelle Birkett.In July, Dr. Michelle Birkett, Director of the CONNECT Complex Systems and Health Disparities Program in ISGMH, and Dr. Phillips II received an R01 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to develop the netCanvas Software Suite, an intuitive and user-centered touch-screen interface for the collection of social, relational, and geospatial data. NetCanvas has the potential to transform how social and behavioral researchers efficiently capture these complex multilevel data. This is the first R01 awarded to Northwestern under the NIH’s new “Big Data to Knowledge” Initiative and comprises a highly interdisciplinary team from Northwestern, Oxford, Emory, and Johns Hopkins.

A headshot of Dr. Michael Newcomb.Most recently, in September, Dr. Michael Newcomb, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern University and the Associate Director for Scientific Development, received an R01 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to evaluate an adaptation of the 2GETHER intervention in a randomized controlled trial “Efficacy of Couples-Based HIV Prevention in Vulnerable Young Men.” 2GETHER is an innovative couples-based program for primary and secondary HIV prevention among young men who have sex with men, and this R01 joins a second randomized controlled trial of 2GETHER funded through a NIDA Avenir New Innovator Award that will conduct a comparative effectiveness trial of another adaptation of 2GETHER. Dr. Newcomb is also the Site PI on the FAB400 Project, an R01 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development looking at intimate partner violence in sexual minority female youth.

The funding success of these early-stage faculty at ISGMH demonstrates their exceptional talent and innovation as independent investigators. It also highlights the mentoring, collaboration, and support available at ISGMH as it continues to grow.