Three U of M faculty honored with CTSI Mentor of the Year awards

Published by CTSI on September 17, 2018

CTSI honored three University of Minnesota faculty members with awards for their excellence in research mentorship at its annual Poster Session held Sept. 12:

Individuals were nominated by their mentees, and evaluated based on the research guidance they provided as well as their interpersonal and motivational skills, promotion of career development, mentor training record, and personal research accomplishments.

Mentor of the Year: Dr. Kathryn Cullen

Dr. Kathryn CullenKathryn Cullen, MD, is an Associate Professor and Division Chief of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and Director of the Child and Adolescent Mood Disorders Clinic in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Psychiatry.

Dr. Cullen has mentored 16 trainees, including five from CTSI supported programs, ranging from undergraduate to doctoral students in various areas of adolescent psychiatry.

Dr. Cullen’s work focuses on treating adolescents with mental health problems such as depression and non-suicidal self-injury and her research aims to advance understanding of the neurobiology of these clinical problems while providing knowledge about the effects of new treatments

Excerpts from nomination letters

Letters nominating Dr. Cullen describe her inspiring effect on mentees and peers through expertise, professionalism, support, and empathy. One nomination noted that volunteers, staff, and mentees seek out ways to continue working with Dr. Cullen throughout their careers.

Following are excerpts from Dr. Cullen’s nominations from mentees and a colleague:
“Dr. Cullen has the wonderful ability of making the priorities of others her own priorities. She is the epitome of wisdom, empathy, and confidence as a professional, and more importantly as a person.”

“One of the many things that distinguishes Dr. Cullen from others is her unwavering positivity and energy for research that persists despite any challenges that happen along the way. She has demonstrated incredible resilience and optimism in the face of the many rejections that are common in academia.”

“She has mentored and been a strong source of support, encouragement, belief and inspiration for me each step of my graduate and now faculty career.”

“Katie serves as a model for which I look to and strive to emulate both as a scientist for her skill, aptitude and high ethical standards, and as an individual. She has provided exceptional, attentive, and thoughtful professional guidance as I have refined my role and areas of speciality and expertise to best utilize my skill set and contribute to the department and field.”

Biostatistical Mentor of the Year: Dr. Cavan Reilly

Dr. Cavan ReillyCavan Reilly, PhD, is a Professor with the Division of Biostatistics in the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. Additionally, he serves as Associate Director of the Coordinating Centers for Biometric Research, and teaches two courses in the Biostatistics program.

Dr. Reilly’s work focuses on design, implementation, and analysis of clinical research on infectious diseases as well as HIV/AIDs and Ebola virus disease (EVD), and he has additional expertise in chronic diseases, genetics, Bayesian analysis, high throughput assays, clinical trials, and data management systems.

Excerpts from nomination letters

Dr. Reilly’s nominations underline his enthusiasm for his mentees’ research, as well as his invested attention to the details of securing funding for their work.

“...Cavan Reilly’s commitment to be part of my success was invaluable.”

“One of the most distinctive aspects to Cavan’s mentorship was his involvement in research design and grant applications. ...He always showed enthusiasm for my research ideas and the questions I was addressing to better the oral health of children.”

“Cavan has provided me with a great amount of help and guidance in building up my collaborative research and establishing myself as a professional biostatistics collaborator.”

“He provides the strongest support to junior faculty like me, and has no hesitation whenever I ask him for help or guidance. I could not establish my collaborative research in the Biostatistics Division without his support and mentoring.”

Outstanding Junior Mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Rogers

Dr. Elizabeth Rogers, her mentee accepting the award on her behalfAccepting the award on Dr. Elizabeth Roger's behalf is her mentee, Hani Abi.

Elizabeth Rogers, MD, MAS, is an Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in Medicine and Pediatrics in the Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine at the University of Minnesota’s Medical School. Additionally, she has an appointment in the Applied Clinical Research Program.

Dr. Rogers is a primary care physician working in an urban safety net clinic that provides care to underserved adults and children who have multiple chronic conditions and preventive health needs. Her deep commitment to making health care available for all Minnesotans is evident in the grassroots physician organization she helped start to address socioeconomic and ethnicity-based disparities.

Excerpts from nomination letters

Mentees and Dr. Rogers’s own mentor and colleague highlighted her outstanding dedication to quality mentorship, particularly for someone in an early stage of their career.

“I know Beth is committed to mentoring young physicians to become involved in the larger social causes of medical care delivery, and I think it speaks directly to her dedication.”

“One aspect I have enjoyed about working with Dr. Rogers was that she created an environment that was conducive to learning where I felt comfortable asking questions and raising concerns about procedures and practices that I wasn’t familiar with”

“She closely considered the work she proposed to share with her trainees, including the scope and opportunities the projects would provide them. She has been methodical in these deliberations each year, which is unusual in my experience as well as very strategic.”

“Dr. Rogers always provided me with valuable insights on areas I could improve. Her optimistic nature equipped her with a skill set to acknowledge issues in research appropriately and encourage resilience.”

About the awards

CTSI has bestowed awards to outstanding mentors since 2012, when it first created the Mentor of the Year award. The program has expanded since then to recognize outstanding junior mentors (since 2014) and biostatistical mentors (since 2015).

CTSI’s mentorship approach

Scholars across CTSI’s seven research career development programs, which support students, trainees and junior faculty, are paired with a research mentor, who provides budding researchers with dedicated guidance and support as they begin their research careers.

Faculty interested in becoming research mentors are encouraged to complete a brief interest form. CTSI offers a free online mentor training module used nationally to train and prepare research mentors to effectively help advance the career of their mentees.

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