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Penn/CHOP CAregiver REtention Support (Penn/CHOP CARES) Program

Call for Applications: closed
Applications Due: December 13, 2021

The Penn/CHOP CAregiver REtention Support (Penn/CHOP CARES) Program has been instituted to accelerate the research of junior faculty physician-scientists (men and women) with significant family caregiving responsibilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically, family caregiving responsibilities would be childcare, partner care, and/or eldercare, but applicants may make the case for other reasonable family caregiving responsibilities. Applications from women and members of underrepresented minorities are strongly encouraged. 


  • One-year grant awards of $50,000 ($50,000 Award Stipend plus the possibility of additional institutional funds from Penn/CHOP) to be used flexibly by awardees. Funds may be used to support research staff (technician or research coordinator), consultants (e.g. biostatistician), or salary support to reduce clinical obligations.

  • Regular meetings with current scholars and senior faculty to foster relationships and facilitate networking



  • Penn/CHOP Physician-Scientists (men and women) (MD, DO, or MD/PhD degree) at the Assistant Professor level (within 10 years of Assistant Professor appointment) on the tenure and clinician-educator (CE) track

  • Eligible awardees will have independent research funding (PI on a NIH, other federal agency, or foundation-sponsored grant for a research project or career development) with a minimum of 50% effort allocation to research, but will have not yet successfully competed for R01-level funding.

  • Must be conducting original clinical research on a significant biomedical problem, and funds cannot be used to support experiments that utilize non-human animals or any tissues or cells derived from them

  • Able to provide a compelling rationale for how funds will accelerate scientific productivity hampered by significant family caregiving responsibilities due to COVID-19



  • Formatting: Arial or Helvetica font, 11 point or larger font size, one-half inch margins (top, bottom, left, and right) for all pages

  • Required application components:

    • Cover page

    • Description of currently funded clinical research project (1/2 page maximum)

    • Extraprofessional family caregiving responsibilities resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic (1/2 page maximum)

    • Expected impact of Penn/CHOP CARES award to accelerate research progress (1/2 page maximum)

    • NIH Biosketch (5 page maximum)

    • Other Support (all current and pending research support)

  • All materials should be compiled into a single PDF and submitted as an attachment to Susan Primavera at by 4 pm on November 15, 2021

  • Applications will be reviewed by a panel of senior faculty who are clinical researchers. Applicants will be notified of outcomes by email.

For questions, please email: 

Audrey John at

Hillary Bogner at

Doris Duke Award Slide for Hillary at lunch time.png

NIH Prize for Enhancing Faculty Gender Diversity


No One Size Fits All: FOCUS’s Mosaic of Initiatives

Executive Summary

The Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) leads a multi-faceted approach to gender diversity and advancement of women faculty through a dean-funded program created in 1994, “FOCUS on Health & Leadership for Women (FOCUS).” The Executive Director is a dean-appointed leadership position and a FOCUS budget supports a small, but vital portion of dedicated time of multi-disciplinary faculty and staff. FOCUS has augmented these funds with grants from the NIH, foundations and philanthropy to multiply the investment. Since its inception, FOCUS has obtained $5.1 million in extramural funding.


The dual mission of FOCUS is to 1) support the advancement and leadership of women in academic medicine and 2) promote education and research in women’s health and careers. FOCUS uses both a “top-down” (working with leadership on institutional policies, procedures, searches, salary) and “bottom-up” approach (faculty initiatives, ie leadership training, mentoring, community building). FOCUS’s philosophy is that when both approaches are actively engaged and sustained, true culture change occurs.


FOCUS initiatives fall into 5 categories: 1) collecting & monitoring data, 2) leadership training, 3) building a trusting & supportive community, 4) policies & procedures and 5) research. Given FOCUS’s long history, we narrowed our timeline to 2008-2020. This time frame begins just before the school-wide NIH-Transforming Academic Culture (TAC) Trial, one of 14 NIH RO1s given in 2009 to accelerate progress in women's careers in medicine and science. FOCUS leadership were Co-Principal Investigators (Abbuhl/Grisso) on the 4-year cluster-randomized intervention trial to advance junior women in clinical and basic science departments. This ambitious trial galvanized leadership and faculty and heralded a more robust era of gender equity initiatives targeting leadership training, professional development, longitudinal cohorts, family-friendly policies, promotion, recruitment, searches, salary, mentoring, community building and others. The dual approach that merges programmatic and research efforts is central to the FOCUS mission.    


Evidence to support accomplishments, and to identify remaining challenges, is provided. Women faculty increased from 31% (2008) to 43% (2020); women “standing faculty” increased by 56%, men by 3%. URM women associate professors increased by 350%, URM men increased by 93%. Overall, URM women faculty increased by 147%, men increased by 58%. URM women faculty remain a priority, comprising only 8.6% of all women faculty.


FOCUS has been recognized by the Assoc. of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), receiving the AAMC Women in Medicine & Science Leadership Award in 2004 (organizational level) and in 2012 (individual to Dr. Abbuhl). FOCUS’s work has been shared at NIH, AAMC, AMWA, AWAEM, AAEM, Health Research Alliance, Melanoma Society, NCSP and numerous national Grand Rounds. Forbes ranked Penn #2 best employer for women with specific mention of FOCUS.

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