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    RBHS Academic and Research Buzz – August 2020 


    RBHS has remained devoted to its educational, research, and clinical missions throughout the COVID-19 crisis. The Chancellor’s Office released a detailed RBHS Campus Status and Repopulation plan for the Summer and Fall 2020. 


    In late 2019, a Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC) was formed and had its first retreat in February 2020.  The SPSC, co-chaired by Drs. Gwen Mahon (SHP) and Sylvia Christakos (NJMS), was charged with developing an updated RBHS strategic plan that builds upon the many accomplishments of the first five-year RBHS Strategic Plan released in 2014.  After a brief pause due to the pandemic, the SPSC has reinitiated active planning which is expected to last through the end of this calendar year. We received 237 responses to our call to the RBHS community for input and volunteers to participate in the process as members of one of seven theme subcommittees identified by the SPSC.  A new Strategic Planning website has been launched to provide updates and seek comments.  Stay tuned for more opportunities to participate! 


    The Office of Information Technology (OIT) has been working with vendors to provide students, faculty, and staff software needed to work effectively from home in response to COVID-19. The University Software Portal offers a wide array of software newly available for free or with temporary free licenses. 




    RBHS Chancellor’s Office is hosting “WE MEET” (Web Ex, Meeting Everyone, Exchanging Topics) virtual get-togethers for faculty.  COVID-19 and the resulting physical and social distancing have impacted the way we meet, connect, and interact.  As we seek ways to build community during this crisis and beyond, “WE MEET” provides a venue for us to meet (virtually, for the time being), to answer your questions, seek direct input and ideas from you, and to know each other better.  Since early April, we have offered over 60 sessions and plan to continue to do so. To allow for interaction, each session can have up to 10 faculty on a first-come first-serve basis.  You can sign-up here for the upcoming sessions in August, and September.  


    The Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion (Dr. Gita Lamba) launched the Virtual Cafes for faculty and staff to connect with each other, build community, and discuss resilience, balance, and recharging during the COVID-19 disruptive crisis.  Additional sessions have been scheduled for August


    The HERE4U website was launched to share our experiences in health care and celebrate the heroic work of our colleagues. RBHS is now an institutional member of the National Center of Faculty Development and Diversity, allowing our faculty and staff access to a variety of mentoring and skills development resources. Instructions for accessing the resources are available here


    The Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion along with the Diversity Leadership Council, chaired by Dr. Denise Rodgers, finalized the RBHS Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and have developed the “Together We Grow” webpage of resources for the RBHS community. 


    Chancellor Strom and the Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion hosted a roundtable discussion on June 26 to begin a collective conversation and recommitment to address health disparities magnified by COVID-19 and explore ways to dismantle the structural racialization that underlies them.  


    The Vice Chancellor for Faculty Development (Dr. Maral Mouradian) hosted the 5th Annual Faculty Development Symposium on the topic of Wellness via WebEx on June 4 (available for viewing here). Additional sessions are tentatively scheduled [all are web-based 12-1 pm]. Mentee training: September 25, December 4; Mentor training: October 27, December 3; Women’s Leadership forum: October 9. 


    The RBHS Faculty Development Opportunities across Rutgers University page provides access to eBooks and information on career development.  One timely resource is The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Chronicle Productivity Guides to 1) Research, 2) Writing and Publishing, 3) Teaching and Presenting, 4) Managing the Tenure Track, 5) Service and Collegiality, and 6) Leading a Department are available to read these online, download them to your device, or print.   


    The Rutgers Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs released new policies and procedures for academic integrity


    Linda Flynn, PhD, RN, FAAN, has been appointed as Dean of the Rutgers School of Nursing.  Dr. Flynn has served RBHS and the School in the role as Interim Dean since September 1, 2019. Congratulations to Dr. Flynn and the School of Nursing! 


    This is the inaugural year for the annual RBHS Chancellor Awards to acknowledge the extraordinary work of faculty and staff in eight categories. Nominations were accepted through June 1, 2020 and awardees will be announced in August. 


    Additionally, we congratulate the following honorees from among the many RBHS faculty accomplishments: 


    Amariliz Rivera-Medina, PhD, Associate Professor, Center for Immunity and Inflammation, New Jersey Medical School was recognized for exceptional research accomplishments of newly-promoted and tenured (as of July 1, 2020) faculty members with THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP FOR SCHOLARLY EXCELLENCE AWARD


    Yuanxiang Tao, MSc, PhD, MD, Professor and Vice-Chair of Research, Department of Anesthesiology, New Jersey Medical School was recognized for distinguished research contributions among tenured faculty members with THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN RESEARCH


    RBHS Recipients of the 2020 CACP Awards Sponsored by The Committee to Advance Our Common Purposes (CACP): 

    −    Robert C. Like, MD, MS, Professor and Director, Center for Healthy Families and Cultural Diversity, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School received the CLEMENT A. PRICE HUMAN DIGNITY AWARD. This award recognizes outstanding individuals, programs or community organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary achievement and commitment to promoting and practicing diversity and inclusion at Rutgers University and/or in partnership with the broader community.

    −    Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH, Dean, Professor of Biostatistics and Urban-Global Public Health, Director Center for Health, Identity Behavior & Prevention Studies (CHIBPS) at the School of Public Health, received THE LEADERS IN FACULTY DIVERSITY AWARD. This award honors faculty who are leaders in promoting diversity, inclusion, equity, and access at Rutgers, either through their own research and teaching, and/or in other venues. 


    Tiffany Murano, MD, professor of emergency medicine at New Jersey Medical School, has been selected as president-elect of the Council of Residency Directors in Emergency Medicine. 


    Tobias Gerhard, PhD, FISPE, director, Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Treatment Science, and associate professor, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, has won the 2020 STERNFELS PRIZE FOR DRUG SAFETY DISCOVERIES for his proposal, “Novel Approach to Examine Within-Class Therapeutic Exchangeability of Medications.” 




    In the early weeks of April, the RU Foundation and RBHS leadership worked to provide emergency funding support to students across the schools of RBHS.  Nearly 300 students were awarded more than $83,000.  Gifts to the RBHS Student Emergency Fund are being matched up to $50,000. Additional support from the 2020 Coronavirus Relief Law (CARES Act) exceeding $800,000 was disbursed by the Office of Financial Aid to over 1,100 RBHS students. 


    The RBHS Office for Violence Prevention & Victim Assistance recognized Sexual Assault Awareness Month (#SAAM2020) with programs such as #DenimDay and the Clothesline Project to raise awareness about our services and support for the RBHS community. 


    The RBHS Office of Disability Services responded to COVID-19 with support and creative solutions for students who were unaccustomed to virtual learning by providing additional captioning of lessons, alternative format materials, and assisting students experiencing stress and anxiety. 


    Susan Hamilton, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, presented on a June 10th webinar hosted by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.  This webinar offered advice and guidance on managing academic records and supporting staff in the COVID-19 period.  




    Despite moving primarily to remote operations in the middle of March, RBHS has remained actively involved in research.  As of July 15, there have been 192 COVID-related research proposals submitted by RBHS, representing over $140M in potential funding and, to-date, this has resulted in 29 awards totaling almost $7M. We also know that many more are on the way thanks to all of your hard work and resilience!


    Over $160,000 in donor support has been raised by RU Foundation for the Rutgers COVID-19 Response Fund which will help fund new basic, clinical, educational, translational, and population-based research related to COVID-19. All gifts will be matched dollar-for-dollar to the Rutgers COVID-19 Response Fund (up to $250,000). 


    There were 79 COVID-related journal publicationsfrom RBHS authors since the beginning of the year through mid-July.  For the same period, there were 102 total Rutgers COVID-related publications, compared to Princeton (23), Cornell (45), and NYU (279).  


    The phased Rutgers return-to-work plan has been initiated and this is an exciting opportunity to begin recovery from the impact of the pandemic on research activities!  The Vice Chancellor for Research and Research Training (Dr. Kathy Scotto) has been working with the Rutgers Emergency Operations Committee and the RBHS Council of Research Deans to ensure that individuals researchers are approved and tested for SARS-CoV-2 prior to returning to on-site laboratory research. We have just begun Phase 3, during which ~75% of our researchers will be back on campus; during the next phase, we are hoping to bring back subsets of our undergraduate trainees. We can’t overemphasize the fact that the success of our research return-to-work depends on stringent compliance with all safety protocols – we are counting on all of you to ensure your own safety and that of your colleagues. Check for additional news and updates on Research in Response to COVID-19 from ORED (and the University-wide COVID information). 


    The Rutgers University Center for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness (CCRP2) serves as the university-wide institutional hub for COVID-19 research activities and information dissemination.  Dr. David Alland (NJMS) is serving as director and Dr. Henry Raymond (SPH) is serving as associate director of CCRP2.  We also acknowledge Dr. Bill Gause (NJMS) and Drs. Amariliz Rivera-Medina and Jason Yang (both RBHS Chancellor Scholars based at NJMS) for their hard work in assisting with overseeing CCRP2 activities. 


    CCRP2 announced Intramural Funding Opportunities for pilot grants intended to build research teams focused on COVID-19 and to provide support for the rapid acquisition of preliminary data for extramural funding applications.  Notably, 97 applications were received for basic, translational, and clinical science and 23 proposals were funded (12 supported by RU-NB; 11 supported by RBHS).  Another recently awarded CCRP2 pilot program supported social science research related to COVID-19 and its implications. For this mechanism, 61 applications were received across the university; three of the RBHS 9 submitted proposals were awarded. 


    Another recently awarded internal funding opportunity available to RBHS faculty and jointly offered by RU-NB and RBHS was the Innovations in Education and Teaching pilot awards to envision and creatively establish innovative forms of online and/or distance learning for Rutgers students across any of the academic disciplines.  A total of 48 applications (24 from RU-NB; 24 from RBHS) were received at the end of June; seven proposals from RBHS were awarded. 


    Another recently announced opportunity is the Advancing Health Equity and Social Justice’ pilot grants intended to support efforts for community-engaged scholarship to address racial inequities and advance social justice.  This pilot mechanism has partnered with the NJACTS Community Outreach Core’s Partnership and Innovation Accelerator Pilot Program to review and award the selected proposals.  


    On July 20, RBHS hosted Program Directors from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate of Biological Sciences (BIO) to discuss program priorities and funding opportunities for the following programs: Genetic Mechanisms, Systems and Synthetic Biology, Molecular Biophysics, Cellular and Dynamic Function, Neural Systems and Symbiosis, Defense and Self-recognition.  Many thanks to Dr. Purnima Bhanot (NJMS) for initiating and hosting the session!  The overall lesson learned from that meeting is that NSF has many funding opportunities for biomedical research, and there are also opportunities to serve on their study sections and learn about their review processes. We plan to arrange for another meeting that focuses on career development opportunities offered by NSF. 


    ORED has announced a request for proposals to provide support funding up to $100K to core facilities across the university to improve and modernize capabilities and provide greater access to all Rutgers research faculty. There is a rolling application deadline up to December 31, 2020


    The Rutgers Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) research portal includes a repository of useful information for proposal development under the Grant Toolkits section with links to Funding Opportunities including COVID-Specific Opportunities [see entire section on RBHS COVID-related Research Activities below].  


    ORED has also announced that faculty, staff, and graduate students now have access to the ProQuest Pivot database to find, track, save, and share funding opportunities targeted to your specific areas of research interest.  Pivot is updated daily and includes opportunities from federal, non-federal, foundation, and other private sponsors for all disciplines and project types.  You can also create an individual researcher profile in Pivot. More information on using Pivot is available here


    Special Exceptions for updating preliminary data as post-submission material.  Under the Guide Notice NOT-OD-20-123 Special Exception to the NIH/AHRQ/NIOSH Post-Submission Material Policy During the COVID-19 Pandemic, NIH, AHRQ, and NIOSH will allow submission of accept a one-page update with preliminary data as post-submission materials in support of applications submitted for due dates beginning May 25, 2020 for the Fall 2020 review meetings/January 2021 Council round.  Additional information is available here:  


    Don’t Forget to Use Updated Grant Application Forms (FORMS-F). NOT-OD-20-026 New NIH “FORMS-F” Grant Application Forms and Instructions Coming for Due Dates on or after May 25, 2020. Changes made to the SF 424 Research and Related (R&R) Forms, used by NIH and other U.S. Public Health Service agencies, for applications with due dates on or after May 25, 2020.  FORMS-F application packages incorporate the latest versions of the federal-wide forms managed by (OMB Number: 4040-0001, Expiration Date: 12/31/2022). Note that these new forms include a new biosketch template. 


    Investigators can update and manage their biosketch using SciENcv, an application in My NCBI that helps you create online professional profiles that can be made public to share with others. My NCBI users can create multiple SciENcv profiles in official biographical sketch formats for the NIH, NSF, and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) which can be used for grant submissions. SciENcv profiles can also be populated with the existing information stored in your NIH eRA Commons, NSF, or ORCID accounts if you link those accounts to NCBI. 


    Dr. Stephanie Shiau (SPH) will host an information session about the NIH Loan Repayment Program (LRP) on August 28 from 12-1 pm via WebEx.  More information to come. 


    ORCID® provides a unique digital identifier that distinguishes scholars within the global research community.  ORCID iD connects individuals with their scholarly research and ensures proper attribution of their work.  Register to get your free ORCID identifier here. Did you know? You can raise the visibility of your researcher profile with an ORCID iD-enhanced Rutgers directory listing and help build an integrated Rutgers research environment.  Link to your Rutgers NetID by logging in here ( and clicking on the ORCID tab. Then sign in to your ORCID Account and authorize Rutgers to access your ORCID record. Remember to add your scholarly works to your ORCID profile and link it to your other accounts (NIH eRA Commons, Scopus). 


    Interested in learning about COVID-19 from a population health perspective? Visit the COVID-19 Information Resources guide to discover resources curated by health sciences librarian Yingting Zhang, MLS, AHIP.  The guide encompasses information ranging from news coverage to scholarly literature, drawing on local, national, and international perspectives, from agencies including the CDC, NIH, and WHO, real-time maps and statistics, webinar recordings, and much more.  This guide is constantly being updated with new material, so check in often for the latest information. 


    Nature Partner Journals is offering a free online course to gain insights into the peer review process.  The course is delivered in four 1-hour modules with lessons provided in 10-minute segments by 11 journal editors from Nature Research, as well as experienced reviewers and active researchers from King’s College London and Imperial College London.