AADR Mentoring an Inclusive Network for a Diverse Workforce of the Future (AADR MIND the Future)

To apply, please email IADR/AADR Assistant Director of Strategic Programs Sheri S. Herren at: sherren@iadr.org for access to the application site. 

Deadline for 2021 Class of AADR MIND the Future: June 30, 2021

The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) has been awarded a five-year grant by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) in response to FOA RFA-DE-19-007: NIDCR Mentoring Network to Support a Diverse Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Research Workforce. The NIH recognizes a unique and compelling need to promote diversity in the NIH funded biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences workforce.

AADR MIND the Future will build a vibrant and inclusive community of investigators whose participation is vital to advancing dental, oral and craniofacial research and improving the oral health of our nation. The primary goal of this NIDCR-funded program is to establish a mentoring network that will support a diverse pool of early career investigators, including individuals from diverse backgrounds (e.g., see Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity), in developing independent research careers dedicated to improving dental, oral and craniofacial health. Ten program participants/mentees will be selected annually and commit to at least one full year of mentoring education/activities. Twelve months will be devoted to enhancing research career development through intensive hands-on work, combining in-person sessions (after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted) with distance-learning components, and engaging in a mentored grant writing experience. Mentees will also be invited and strongly encouraged to remain engaged with the program post 12 months to foster peer mentoring and to support further career development based on individual needs and preferences.


AADR is adapting the mentoring program description from the Oklahoma Center for Mentoring Excellence to the AADR MIND the Future program. 

The Center’s studies have validated six core competencies of effective mentors:

  1. maintaining effective communication, 
  2. aligning expectations, 
  3. assessing understanding,
  4. addressing equity and inclusion, 
  5. promoting professional development; and 
  6. fostering independence. 

Mentor Description

An experienced individual engaged in a longitudinal professional developmental relationship with a more novice colleague or mentee; to aid the mentee’s transition toward fuller mastery of knowledge, skills and aptitudes necessary for success, professional progression, and capacity for independent contribution to science and/or practice in the field and productive professional and interprofessional engagement with others.[1]


  • It is expected that selected Mentors will participate with their mentees and otherwise in an estimated 9 hours in synchronous programming, 1 hour in asynchronous programming over the 12 months of the program; which includes travel to the AADR Annual Meeting and a two-day workshop for mentors at The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center – Mentoring Workshop Series.
  • Although mentors are welcome to attend some educational sessions developed for the mentees, some sessions, such as the grant application development sessions, are better suited for just the presenter and the mentee. All mentee educational sessions will be recorded for viewing at your convenience.
  • As part of the development and assessment of this new mentoring program, mentors will be asked to provide a biannual report describing the mentoring activities and noting positive or challenging experiences,  and to submit a self-evaluation of their experience via a survey instrument at the end of the 12 month commitment. 
  • For this program, the mentors are expected to guide an NIH grant writing experience.  Mentor success with obtaining independent peer reviewed federal or non-federal research funding should be a requirement for eligibility to participate in the program. Eligible mentors should also have a history of peer review research publications, including recent publications. 

It is understood that the mentees/participants may already have a research mentor at their institution. It is not the intention of this program that the participating mentors who are matched with a mentee/participant should replace or duplicate the mentor responsibilities already underway with the mentee. Mentoring responsibilities will pertain to the AADR MIND the Future programming.

[1] Mickel, N., Wiskur, B., James, J., VanWagoner, T., & Williams, V.N. (2018). Strategic Implementation of a Mentoring Assessment to Build a Network of Effective Mentors at a Seven-College Academic Health Sciences Center. Manuscript submitted for publication.