Programs and Initiatives

At the Institute for Health Equity Research, we run programs and initiatives to support the community with shared goals.

Exceptional Scholar Awards

The Institute for Health Equity Research offers funding for early-stage investigators from diverse backgrounds at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai who have independent research programs. This internal funding is intended to help researchers maintain momentum or accelerate their success toward an established career as a federally-funded investigator. Applicants who are members of groups underrepresented in science, are encouraged to apply.

We fund up to three awards each year. Each is a one-year grant of $30,000 to $50,000, conferred based on a competitive application process. Additionally, we connect awardees to key institutional career development resources and programs, as well as to external networking resources. We will produce a short video of each scholar for their website. Two runners-up may be awarded $1,500 toward enlisting a grant writer.


We accept applications from clinical, translational, health services, or basic scientists who are early-stage investigators who meet the following criteria:

  • Have active extramural support, including salary support, for their research program from a career development award or other grant mechanism
  • Are on a clear trajectory to a successful independent research career
  • Show evidence of strong research training and productivity

Application Process

To apply for the grant, you will need to submit the following:

  • Statement of career goals and explanation of how the research program is independent of your mentor’s projects and how this award will enhance productivity (one page). Information about how the candidate will enhance diversity of the research workforce should also be included.
  • Research plan readily understandable by reviewers outside your research field. Please include title, specific aims, background/significance, preliminary data, experimental design and methods, work plan and timeline, and references (maximum three pages, excluding references).
  • Documentation of National Institutes of Health (NIH) biosketch and other support
  • Budget and budget justification (maximum $50,000 for one year; no indirect costs allowed). You may use funds to support a technician, study coordinator, data analyst, fellow, student, grant writer, or to purchase supplies or data, provide participant incentives, or otherwise support your research. Please note: funds cannot be used to support any investigator salaries. Please use the PHS 398 Form Page 4 to submit the budget, and include a budget justification.
  • Two letters of support: one from a current chief or chair, and one from a current or former research mentor

Review Process

A committee appointed by the Institute for Health Equity Research will review and score all applications using NIH criteria significance: investigator (including potential for independence), innovation, approach, and environment.

Expectations of Funded Scholars

In addition to research activities, we expect all funded scholars to perform the following:

  • Produce progress reports at 6 and 12 months of the funding period, outlining challenges and accomplishments
  • Attend a semi-annual meeting with the Exceptional Scholar Award Program Director and other scholars

Submission Process

We are now accepting applications for 2024. Submissions are due by Friday, March 29, 2024, by 11:59 pm. Those interested may submit their application here.

For more information, contact Cindy Clesca at