About UTEP FIRST
The UTEP FIRST (United Toward Equity and Progress: Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation) project focuses on maintaining inclusive environments to support early-career faculty across the university. This institutional-supported program will provide a framework to significantly impact health disparities, including a FIRST cohort of six faculty hires, by directing the training of students who will be the next-generation researchers.
UTEP FIRST cohort faculty enter a mentoring trajectory focused on moving them from early-stage investigators to established principal investigators who have tenure, productive labs, and R01 funding.
The UTEP FIRST project is founded on the evidence-based practices and initiatives at UTEP to create academic cultures of inclusive excellence around a research agenda focused on Hispanic health disparities. Institutional support structures include establishing processes, practices, and policies that enhance and reward interdisciplinary research, provide differential workload policies, and provide other support to develop emerging leaders.
UTEP’s model of faculty hiring, sponsorship, continual mentoring, and professional development is expected to establish an institutional culture that results in scientific discoveries that will help to reduce Hispanic health disparities, improve health and educational policy changes, and develop the next generation of health disparities researchers. Other anticipated impacts are a model for operationalizing inclusive excellence that is disseminated to other R1 Hispanic Serving Institutions and educational and health policymakers.