New Connections: Increasing Diversity of RWJF Programming
New Connections: Increasing Diversity of RWJF Programming is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with technical assistance and direction provided by OMG Center for Collaborative Learning. New Connections: Increasing Diversity of RWJF Programming is a program of the Building Human Capital portfolio (www.rwjf.org/humancapital) at RWJF which works to develop and retain a diverse, well-trained leadership and workforce in health and healthcare to meet the needs of all Americans. Created in 2005, New Connections is designed to expand the diversity of perspectives that inform RWJF program strategy and introduce new and diverse researchers and scholars to the foundation.
The New Connections program seeks to increase the exposure of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to researchers and experts that represent historically underrepresented research communities.
New Connections emerged from a series of conversations among senior program staff at RWJF about how the foundation could support and learn from the growing diversity of the communities it serves. The group, consisting of RWJF’s senior staff, leaders of the Human Capital Portfolio, and Debra Pérez, Ph.D., Interim Assistant Vice President for Research and Evaluation, recognized that talented individuals from underrepresented communities can often be isolated in their early- or mid-career pathways and overlooked for funding. To address this situation, an initiative was created that would foster new relationships between RWJF and researchers, evaluators, and consultants from underrepresented groups. This initiative was New Connections: Increasing Diversity of RWJF Programming.
New Connections works with early- to mid-career scholars who:
Have not received prior funding from RWJF as a principal investigator or through a program contract
And are members of ethnic or racial minority or low-income communities and/or the first in their family to receive a college degree.
New Connections awarded its first grants in 2006 and since that time has funded over 80 diverse researchers through its program and collaboration with partner programs. Fundamentally, the New Connections program offers to research funding opportunities as well as career development and mentoring activities such as its Annual Symposium and Research Coaching Clinic.