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The Caregivers at Carolina Program provides support to physician scientists who are facing substantial caregiving demands at home. During the renewal process, UNC School of Medicine was one of the institutions that received additional funding.

The goal of the Caregivers at Carolina (“Caregivers”) program is to support the retention of junior physician scientists facing substantial caregiving responsibilities by developing not only new sustainable initiatives but also leveraging and integrating existing programs, resources, and opportunities.

In 2016, the UNC School of Medicine was one of only 10 academic medical schools in the country to receive funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to develop an experimental program designed to retain physician scientists in research who are facing substantial caregiving demands at home. The program at UNC was named Caregivers at Carolina and is directed by Amelia F. Drake, MD, FACS, Executive Associate Dean for Academic Programs, and Susan Girdler, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Vice Chair of Faculty Development. The Caregivers program submitted a competitive renewal in 2020 and was one of the institutions that received an additional three years of funding.

Early career physician scientists who have substantial caregiving demands at home and are currently funded to conduct clinical research are eligible. The program provides supplemental research funding to physician scientists to support a research technician or buy-out of one day of clinical time. All applicants, regardless of whether they receive the funding, are part of a ‘Caregivers cohort’ — the program facilitates networking, research collaborations, and social and informational support. The program ensures that the Caregivers cohort has facilitated access to career development opportunities. The program also provides emotional and peer support as well as editorial help when needed.

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