BUILDING A TEAM
When it comes to building your team, think big. You need the right people, a strong shared vision, and a blend of perspectives that opens up new possibilities.
“The Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program will deepen my ability to create an informed solution for youth violence prevention by leveraging evidence from research and community engagement.”
— Michelle Becote-Jackson, MS, IRL Community Partner, Senior Vice President for Youth Development and Social Responsibility at the YMCA of Central Maryland
[Pictured from Left to Right]
Vanya Jones, PhD, MPH; Michelle Becote-Jackson, MS; Leticia Ryan, MD, MPH
The Program at a Glance
The Program at a Glance
Teams of three people—two researchers and one community partner—who are interested in applying research to build healthier, more equitable communities.
- Researchers must have a terminal degree in their field (e.g., PhD) or extensive research or evaluation experience.
- Community partners must have close ties to a community of interest, must have the potential to take action on the issue themselves or have relationships with entities that can take action.
- Teams must include members from different disciplines and perspectives.
- Teams do not need to be located in the same geographic area, but must work cohesively together.
- Leadership training.
- Opportunities to learn and apply cutting-edge research methods.
- Annual support of $25,000 per person for three years.
- A one-time research grant of up to $125,000 per team to design and implement a research project.
- Mentoring from national leaders.
- Extensive networking opportunities.
Our teams thrive when each member has unique expertise, drive, and open-minded humility to listen and learn—and when the team designs their research project to inform policy and action at the local and national level to create change.
Creativity on IRL teams is fueled by diverse perspectives—rooted in personal experience and in health and non-health professions alike—helping each member see beyond their familiar discipline and daily work to find cross-cutting solutions.
Imagine what a pediatrician, a political scientist, and a housing advocate could learn from each other about the impacts of public housing on children’s health, and how to improve systems and outcomes.
Imagine what a psychologist, a geographer, and a neighborhood organizer could learn from each other about urban landscapes, people’s relationships with the outdoors, and how to create more equitable green spaces that sustain community health.
These are the kinds of unusual collaborations and insights we need to build a Culture of Health. Our teams tell us that these new connections spark fresh thinking and help them reach beyond standard approaches.
This video introduces a unique team—a health behavior researcher, a rehabilitation counseling researcher, and a case manager and nonprofit director—that is assessing best practices for and the health impact of affordable housing and community advocacy for people living with HIV.
Think creatively about the team you could build, with two researchers and one community partner.
Whose work could illuminate different questions, challenges, and opportunities to lead you in unique and valuable directions? Perhaps you and a long-time collaborator bring in a third team member who is new to you both. Or maybe this is your opportunity to create a completely new team.
Try these approaches:
- Walk across campus to explore collaboration with someone from a different discipline.
- Walk across town to brainstorm with a community member whose work intrigues you.
- Post a provocative question to your social network and see who weighs in with an intriguing thought.
- Brainstorm with colleagues, mentors, and friends from outside your organization or field. Pose the challenge you want to address and ask them who would provide an interesting, valuable, and unexpected perspective.
For inspiration from more of our current teams, please check them out here.