$1M Grant from Sanofi to Further DEI Research via DF/SOCS Awards Partnership

The award aims to expand the understanding of dermatological issues impacting underrepresented or underserved groups in medicine.
The award aims to expand the understanding of dermatological issues impacting underrepresented or underserved groups in medicine.

To advance health equity in the specialty of dermatology, the Dermatology Foundation (DF) and the Skin of Color Society (SOCS) have partnered to establish a research awards program funded through a US $1 million grant from Sanofi-Regeneron.

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The Sanofi-Regeneron Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Mid-Career Award will be available to three established investigators beginning in 2024; applications will be accepted beginning on Sept. 15, 2023. According to the SOCS, the award was developed for the mid-career investigator "with an established trajectory of excellence in basic, clinical or translational science."

The award aims to expand the understanding of dermatological issues impacting underrepresented or underserved groups in medicine. Supported research projects are expected to yield novel results that will provide urgently needed preliminary data and will serve as a springboard for obtaining larger research grants.

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Qualifications and Timeline

All research must be conducted in the United States under the sponsorship of a department/division of dermatology that is ACGME-approved for training in dermatology. Applicants must meet the DF's general eligibility requirement, in addition to the award-specific requirements at the time of funding, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • The proposed project must address an issue impacting groups underrepresented/underserved in medicine. Award applicants belonging to groups underrepresented/underserved in medicine are encouraged to apply for this award.
  • A strong demonstrated commitment to research;
  • At least 75% of their time devoted to research;
  • Appropriate training and experience in relevant research;
  • A faculty appointment in an accredited dermatology department/division, within 12 years of appointment as an assistant professor; and
  • An M.D., D.O., M.D./Ph.D. or Ph.D. degree.

The request for research proposals opens on Sept. 15, 2023, and closes on Dec. 1.

Process and Awards Distribution 

Each award recipient will be selected by the DF and SOCS collaborative according to a well-defined evaluation process based on the National Institutes of Health procedure for research grants. Per the DF and SOCS, the collaborative review process "will identify worthy applicants - talented researchers with the ideas, thought leadership and experience needed to pave the way for scientific advancements and improvements in patient care."

Each Award will provide $100,000 in annual funding for up to three years. Award dollars could be used for any combination of salary and related benefits, and project expenses supporting a meritorious research project. A total of three awards will be available for funding. Funding will begin on July 1, 2024.

Responding to Need

"...We believe this award can be transformative in supporting the next generation of clinical, translational and basic researchers in this critical area," commented Janet A. Fairley, M.D., fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), president of the DF and Strauss Professor and Chair, department of dermatology, University of Iowa. "Furthermore, our research programs need to reflect the changing demographics and skin problems in the U.S. and this program will help us achieve this aim."

"We are honored to collaborate with the Dermatology Foundation on this extraordinary opportunity to support highly trained investigators with a special interest in skin of color dermatology whose work will contribute much-needed research into dermatologic diseases affecting our patients of color," added Andrew F. Alexis, M.D., master of public health, fellow of the AAD, SOCS president (2023-2024) and professor of clinical dermatology and vice chair for diversity and inclusion at Weill Cornell Medicine.

"Given the dire need for more research into skin conditions that disproportionately impact underrepresented/underserved patients, this generous grant from Sanofi-Regeneron will facilitate seminal contributions to science, which will ultimately bring about health equity for patients," said John E. Harris, M.D., Ph.D., fellow of the AAD; chair of the SOCS's DEI research grant committee (2023-2024); chair of dermatology, director of the Autoimmune Therapeutics Institute and director of the Vitiligo Clinic and Research Center at UMass Chan Medical School; and past recipient of research grants and awards from both the DF and the SOCS.

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