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Pitt Nursing Represented in Newly Established Mothers Leading Science Program

An Assistant Professor at the School of Nursing was chosen to be a part of the inaugural cohort of the Mothers Leading Science (MLS) Program at the University of Pittsburgh.

Sarah Belcher, PhD, RN, OCN, is one of nine faculty members, and the only faculty member from Pitt Nursing, selected for the program that’s geared towards research-intensive faculty in the health sciences, and who identify as mothers of school age and/or young children.

“I am excited to have been selected to join this cohort of research-intensive health sciences faculty mothers who are balancing similar roles as mothers and scientists,” said Dr. Belcher. “I applied to the MLS program because I was impressed by the multi-pronged supports offered via programming, peer support, networking and training.”

Mothers Leading Science was created at the University of Minnesota (UMN) in 2018 when an early-stage female investigator was struggling with the challenges of balancing their research career and home life, which included raising young children, and sought coaching support. The CTSI-Education Core’s Assistant Director, Michelle Lamere, MPA, ACC, who is also a certified coach and has expertise in resilience and leadership, recognized a pattern of similar struggles in other “researcher-moms” (RMs) within CTSI faculty scholars. These RMs met and over a period of two years and several meetings, MLS was turned into a formal program, launching its second cohort in 2020.

The program is gaining national interest thanks to its success in developing confidence in leadership and parenting, self-efficacy and for renewing the passion for research among its participants, and for the first time is expanding.

The University of Pittsburgh is the first sister-site for MLS under the Direction of Assistant Professor and “researcher mom”, Amery Treble-Barna, PhD, Co-Director and Assistant Professor and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives for General Internal Medicine; Tasha Alston, PhD, MSW; and  with the invaluable support of Doris Rubio, PhD, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Clinical Research Education and Training in the Health Sciences.

“Dr. Rubio connected me with Michelle Lamere at UMN after I expressed interest in developing supports for researcher moms at Pitt who were having difficulty navigating the often-competing demands of the roles of scientist and mother, with these struggles exponentially exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Amery Treble-Barna. “I became excited about the UMN MLS program, and we decided to collaborate and create a sister-site at Pitt.”

Tremble-Barna said the program is designed to address the lack of representation of women in senior leadership, the high rates of attrition of female scientists, and the challenges of women in academic health sciences research at the intersections of career, gender, and motherhood.

“The purpose of the group is to foster professional and personal growth as leaders, provide peer mentoring, integrate the roles of scientist, woman, and mother, and build a network of peers for ongoing support throughout their careers,” she said.

Pitt’s year long program begins on Friday, July 1. For more details on the program: https://www.publichealth.pitt.edu/Portals/0/Main/Things%20to%20Know/2022...