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Faculty Infrastructure for Research Sustainability and Transformation (FIRST) Program

In 2021, Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health and College of Nursing and Health Professions received a 5-year $14.4 million NIH grant to focus on health disparities research spanning from population health to intervention science in aging, chronic disease, and environmental determinants.

The NIH-funded Drexel FIRST (Faculty Institutional Research for Sustainable Transformation) program will enhance inclusive excellence in health disparities research and support career development and retention of early-career investigators, with a strong focus on developing independent research. 

The NIH grant supports the recruitment of up to 12 tenure-track assistant professor positions, and the program will provide extensive mentorship, sponsorship, development, and support resources.


The Drexel FIRST program aims to create sustainable institutional changes necessary to promote inclusive excellence for all and to contribute to the science of health disparities that have an impact on individuals, communities and populations.

The overarching goals are to:

  1. Establish an infrastructure to promote recruitment of faculty committed to diversity
  2. Develop best practices for mentoring faculty dedicated to health disparity research
  3. Conduct health disparity research
  4. Evaluate multi-level outcomes and scientific impact

For more information read the announcement: NIH Awards Drexel University $14.4 Million for Health Disparities Research.

Hiring Faculty

The FIRST initiative invites applications from candidates in all disciplines whose work broadly advances health disparities/health equity research.

The program is especially interested in qualified candidates who can contribute to the diversity and excellence of our academic community. Learn more about how to apply.

FIRST Program Fact Sheet:

Catalyzing Systemic Change at Drexel University to Support Diverse Faculty in Health Disparities Research: Drexel FIRST