This spring, the University of Maine System Research Reinvestment Fund (RRF) Advisory Board announced its awards for internal grants focusing on one-year projects in the areas of COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants; Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research Collaboratives (IURCs); and UMS Research Collaboration Networks.
Among the successful awardees in the Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research Collaboratives category were UMA Assistant Professors Katherine Weatherford Darling and Valerie Rubinsky, who were part of two projects receiving grant funding. Drs. Darling and Rubinsky developed these collaborative research projects with support from a UMA Strategic Development grant focused on building UMA’s institutional capacity for community-driven rural health research.
The first project is “Building a Community Health Worker Workforce to Address Systemic Rural Health Inequities.” The project team also includes Jennifer Crittenden, UMaine, and Erika Ziller, USM. Community partners in this initiative are Maine Public Health Association, Partnership for Children’s Oral Health, New Mainers Public Health Initiative, and Community Health Worker Initiative Stakeholder Group.
Additionally, Professors Darling and Rubinsky were part of a project submitted on “Building the Downeast Rural Health Research Collaborative Institute,” which includes in its project team Tora Johnson, UMM; Lois-Ann Kuntz, UMM; Linda Silka, UMaine; Debra Kantor, UMaine; Tara Casimir, USM; Bridie McGreavy, UMaine; Erika Ziller, USM; and Amy Dowley, UMaine.
In the area of COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants, UMA Assistant Professor Joyoung Shim’s collaborative project on “Repurposing an Existing Drug to Rapidly Fight SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza” also received grant funding. In addition to Dr. Shim, the project team includes Julie Gosse, UMaine; Samuel Hess, UMaine; Douglas Currie, USM; Joshua Zimmerberg, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development/National Institutes of Health.