Culturally Aware Mentoring

A Research Study with the NRMN

Project Title

Impact of Culturally Aware Mentoring Interventions on Research Mentors and Graduate Training Programs  NIH Grant #U01 GM132372

Team Members

Richard McGee

Co-Investigator, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern

Stephanie House

Researcher, UW-Madison

Sylvia Hurtado

Co-Investigator, School of Education, UCLA

Ellyssa Eiring

Research Services Manager, UW-Madison

Bernard Reyes

PhD Student, Higher Education and Organizational Change, UCLA

You-Geon Lee

Statistician, UW-Madison

Amanda Carrasco

PhD Student, Higher Education and Organizational Change, UCLA

Our Focus

Isolated. Presumed Incompetent. Invisible, yet under the microscope. These are the experiences of far too many racial and ethnic minority faculty and students at predominantly White research-intensive (R1) universities. Add to this the too-frequent burden of being the “only” person of color in a department. Although many institutions strive to create a culture for diversity and inclusive excellence, most fall short and create conditions where everyday interactions exclude, diminish, and isolate faculty and students, especially by race and ethnicity. Given race and gender inequities and the history of discrimination, it is not surprising that the United States (US) continues to fall woefully short in diversifying the nation’s faculty and workforce in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medical sciences (STEMM). 

There is a critical need for culturally aware mentoring (CAM) to guide faculty mentors to understand the sources and impact of bias on diverse graduate trainees to improve the training environment for students from underrepresented (UR) groups. 

As part of the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), our diverse, transdisciplinary team created a novel CAM intervention to increase mentors’ skills for interacting with mentees from different racial, ethnic and social backgrounds than the mentor. 

Long Term Goal: to advance the science and practices of mentoring in order to increase access to high quality mentoring relationships for UR students that will advance their success.

Our Questions

  • How do CAM training interventions affect research mentors’ perceptions of mentoring effectiveness, cultural awareness, and intended behaviors?
  • What conditions or events motivate departmental involvement in training and subsequent adoption of CAM practices and principles across the department? 
  • What changes are evident in participants’ perceptions of their departments (e.g., climate)?  

Our Theory

As our project addresses both individual and institutional change, we use theories of planned behavior and organizational change to determine why and how new knowledge can spark innovative mentoring behaviors and transform graduate programs toward more inclusive and equitable training environments for diverse emerging scientists.


This study will generate insights into the mechanisms of change plus the impact of CAM interventions on faculty and graduate training programs.

Publications & Presentations

House, SC, Byars-Winston, A, Eiring, E, Hurtado, S, Lee, Y.G., McGee, R.  (2024). Evaluation of a Virtual Culturally Aware Mentoring Workshop for Biomedical Faculty.  The Chronicle of Mentoring & Coaching. Accepted manuscript.

Carrasco, A., Hurtado, S., Granados, J. (2024). Culturally Aware Mentoring and STEMM Department Buy-In: DEIJ Strategies and Overcoming Resistance. Will present at Association for the Study of Higher Education. Philadelphia, PA.

Carrasco, A., Reyes, B., Hurtado, S. (2022). The Scholarship on Department and Graduate Program Racial Climate in STEMM Fields. Presented at American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting Conference. San Diego, CA.

Reyes, B., Hurtado, S., Carrasco, A. (2022). Assessing Measures for Departmental Climate Among Graduate Faculty in the Biomedical Sciences. Presented at American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting Conference. San Diego, CA.

House, S. C., Byars-Winston, A., Zárate, S., Azurdia, D. E., Birren, B., Cheng, P., Diggs-Andrews, K., Lee, S. P., Martínez-Hernández, K., McGee, R., Prunuske, A., Ramírez, K., & Sorkness, C. A. (2023). Guiding principles for culturally responsive facilitation: Lessons learned from delivering culturally aware mentor training to STEMM faculty. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education.


Further information about CAM and resources for Culturally Aware Mentoring can be found here. Contact CAM via email at

Participating Institutions

Institutions participating in the Impact of Culturally Aware Mentoring Research Study:

Research reported on this website was supported by the National Institutes of Health under Award Number MSN219324. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or the National Research Mentoring Network.