RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — On August 11, 2021, Dr. Janelle Armstrong-Brown was announced as an incoming scholar in the Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (LEEAD) evaluation training program. LEEAD is an evaluation training program designed to develop a pathway for diverse leaders in culturally responsive and equitable evaluation (CREE) who will advance the field of evaluation. LEEAD scholars and mentors recognize the historic homogeneity of research and apply direct methods to counteract that by ensuring inclusion of people from diverse backgrounds at every level of research, from the administrators and field team to study participants.
“I’m very excited to be a scholar with the LEEAD program as it will equip me with the skills to apply concrete strategies to increase equitable, diverse, and inclusive perspectives into my research and evaluation work,” said Dr. Janelle Armstrong-Brown, research public health analyst at RTI International. “I am committed to seeking solutions that address deep-rooted inequities and have a long-lasting impact on the communities most affected.”
Armstrong-Brown is the second RTI staff member to enroll in the training. Dr. Nitya Venkateswaran, senior education research associate at RTI, was a scholar in the 2019-2020 cohort, and she found it helpful both in increasing her sensitivity to how oppression can be perpetuated through evaluation methods and in building her professional network. Participation in this program is a critical strategic step in furthering RTI’s mission of performing culturally, socially, and economically sensitive research to bring the promise of science and medicine to the world, inclusive of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic background.
“The program has given me the skills and knowledge to implement an equity lens in my projects, deepening my understanding of how to center communities who have been historically excluded from the research and evaluation process. I feel more confident in my practice of culturally responsive and equitable evaluation methods,” said Venkateswaran. “Expanding my network through the mentors and scholars in my cohort provided opportunities to develop thought leadership on the evaluation methodology that we can use to dismantle systemic barriers that perpetuate inequities in education.”
RTI will support Armstrong-Brown and other researchers who hope to further their education to build expertise in health equity. As diversity at all levels of research becomes ever more critical for progress, LEEAD training is one piece of RTI’s strategy to make cultural responsiveness and sensitivity to outside determinants of health a reflex for our research teams, to bring the promise of science to all, thereby improving the human condition.
For more information on the LEEAD scholar program, visit expandingthebench.org/leead.
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