The UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility uses multiple approaches to support the career development of environmental health scientists at UNC-CH. We support investigators at all career stages who are pursuing research questions on environmental health, particularly multi-disciplinary questions, through a Pilot Projects Program, a seminar series, scientific retreats, and technical support from Facility Cores. We supplement these activities with mentoring and training grant opportunities that are primarily directed toward junior investigators. We specifically encourage development of community engagement skills for environmental health researchers.
Planned scientific enrichment activities for career development include the following events and activities:
Monthly seminar series
The CEHS monthly seminar series highlights the research of nationally recognized environmental scientists from within and outside the UNC campus.
Annual CEHS Symposium
CEHS sponsors a day-long scientific retreat or symposium, with a goal of fostering scientific and intellectual exchange of ideas among Center members at multiple career stages. The format of the symposium includes presentations on emerging science by the Research Focus Area groups, highlights on how environmental health science is conveyed to community audiences, a keynote address, a poster session, and meetings of the Internal and External Advisory Committees.
Effective academic mentoring involves multiple, distinct activities and skills, requires periodic reassessment or evaluation, and Center leadership recognized that it may be more reliably accomplished by groups than by single individuals. Therefore, we have structured the mentoring program with mentor committees for junior faculty supported either directly by CEHS funds, or through the Center’s Pilot Project awards.
Each committee is comprised of at least two senior CEHS faculty, one of whom is in the same department as the mentee. Through the year of the mentorship, the committee conducts a formal process of meeting to assess progress, help problem-solve for any impediments to the junior faculty’s success and makes recommendations for improvement.
All CEHS supported junior investigators (post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty receiving pilot awards or direct support) will be expected to participate in the program, as a condition of their funding; investigators at more senior ranks are also encouraged to participate.
Translating environmental science for the public requires skillful communication. Through an integrated approach with the CEHS Community Outreach and Engagement Core, our goal is to enhance the ability of CEHS researchers to communicate their environmental health science results effectively with public audiences, as well as health professionals who serve them.
Additionally, we will collaborate with the School of Medicine’s North Carolina Translational and Clinical Science Institute’s Community Academic Exchange program to integrate CEHS members into their extensive curriculum and workshops, where appropriate. Watch for community engagement topics as part of the monthly seminar series.
CEHS investigators may enhance their research skills and productivity through collaboration with the Center’s Facility cores. These cores are designed to provide Center investigators with techniques, services, or instrumentation in a manner that will enhance the research in progress, consolidate effort, and contribute to cost effectiveness by providing a service at less cost and possibly higher quality than if each investigator were to attempt it individually.
Multiple leadership training resources are available on the UNC campus and elsewhere, for faculty seeking to develop skills in preparation for leading labs or academic groups. The Center for Faculty Excellence provides leadership development seminars and programs here on the UNC campus, the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (TraCS) provides resources to accelerate clinical and translational research from health science to discovery to dissemination to patients and communities, and there are many other additional resources for interested faculty members. CEHS leadership encourages faculty at all stages of their careers to take advantage of these professional development opportunities.
Timely and successful promotion requires planning and organization, in addition to academic accomplishments. CEHS leadership encourages faculty and their mentors to become familiar with promotions criteria, guidelines and timelines for their home academic unit.
Career Development Program Director:
Terry Noah, MD; Department of Pediatrics
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (919) 966-1055