Call for Applications: Diversity Supplement Candidates – Freetown, Sierra Leone

Seeking Pre or Post-doctoral Diversity Supplement Candidates for U19 from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) 

Research Program for Children and Adversity, Boston College School of Social Work 

Principal Investigator: Theresa S. Betancourt, Sc.D., M.A.


The Research Program on Children and Adversity is seeking a Diversity Fellow applicant whose interests and career goals for training align with the activities of our recently-funded NIMH U19 in Sierra Leone to establish an implementation science hub in West Africa with a dual mission: (a) to accelerate scaling up innovative and sustainable delivery of evidence-based mental health interventions for youth exposed to violence and other forms of adversity across a range of delivery settings; and (b) to serve as a global hub for capacity building in mental health services research on children, youth and families facing adversity and to conduct implementation science on the delivery of evidence-based mental health services via alternate delivery systems such as youth employment programs in West Africa.

Interested potential applicants with a background in quantitative research skills (field based survey data collection, early childhood assessment, psychometric and multivariate analyses of child and family mental health outcomes) as well as qualitative research skills are encouraged to be in touch with the research team whose contact information is below.  Candidates should also have a background and keen interest in implementation science and developing mechanisms for fidelity monitoring and quality improvement in mental health services as delivered by lay workers.  The RPCA and the potential fellow will then work together to co-construct a proposal for funding to NIMH comprising a one to two-year training and mentored research plan aligned with their career goals and project activities.. Willingness to travel for field work as well as prior field based research in Africa or other low-resource settings is preferred.

Soliciting: Candidates who might be interested in applying as a Diversity Fellow (must be US citizen or Green-card holder) to join. Particularly interested in people with a background in global mental health, clinical psychology, public health, social work, and/or implementation science in relation to interagency collaboration, and prior experience with large scale capacity building, in particular, in working with national and international institutions and government leadership. Must have solid quantitative skills; experience with qualitative data collection and analyses preferred. The program includes a mixed-methods approach, uses digital data collection platforms, and emphasizes translational research. Candidates should have a background and keen interest in implementation science and developing mechanisms for fidelity monitoring and quality improvement in mental health services as delivered by lay workers.  The ideal candidate must be a self-starter and able to work independently.

Location:  The position would be based 100% of the time in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Eligibility: Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents.

NIH encourages institutions to diversify their student and faculty populations to enhance the participation of individuals from groups identified as underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral and social sciences, such as:

  1. Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences;
  2. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
  3. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as:
    • Individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds. These thresholds are based on family size, published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index; and adjusted by the Secretary for use in all health professions programs.
    • Individuals who come from an educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that has demonstrably and directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.
      The disadvantaged background category (C1 and C2) refers to the financial and educational status of individuals while residing in the United States, and is only applicable to programs focused on high school and undergraduate candidates.


Details on putting together an application for a diversity supplement to the RPCA U01 grant (Diversity Supplement funding is determined following NIMH internal review):

The application requires three specific plans: 

Research Plan

The Research Plan should present evidence that the proposed experience is appropriate for the stage of the individual’s career, and that it will significantly enhance the individual’s research potential, while furthering the individual’s ability to pursue a research career.

Pre or post-doctoral and investigator level candidates are expected to have defined research projects.

Note: projects or specific aims deleted during the initial peer review of the parent grant may not be proposed as the research basis for research supplement support.

Career Development Plan

Prepare a detailed Career Development Plan that will include objectives, benchmarks, and associated timelines.

Describe how the research experience will foster the research capabilities of the candidate and explain how the research experience is related to the research goals and objectives of the parent grant.

The Career Development Plan should also include plans for transition to the next stage of the candidate’s career level. For pre or post-doctoral, and investigator level candidates, a projected timeline delineating specific research milestones and other activities that will be made in an attempt to secure independent research funding (i.e., anticipated publications, grantsmanship workshops, timeframe for grant submissions and type of independent research support the candidate seeks).

Mentorship Plan

The Mentorship Plan should include:

  • Guidance on preparation of oral scientific presentations
  • Instructions on how to critically evaluate the literature and experimental design
  • Training in scientific writing (including grant proposal preparation), such as manuscripts, abstracts;
  • Instruction in responsible conduct of research and how to design experiments
  • Guidance in the ethical conduct of research (including training in animal and human subjects’ protection, if applicable)


Interested Candidates are welcome contact our team with questions:

Daniel Young, Associate Director, Administration

Jordan Farrar, Associate Director, Research

Theresa Betancourt, Principal Investigator

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