Scholar Academy for Latinxs United for Diversity (SALUD): Mentorship and Leadership Program Model (2019-2020)


Latinx (i.e., Latin, Hispanic) individuals are the largest, fastest-growing and youngest minority group in the U.S. and are estimated to double in size by 2050. In North Carolina, the Latinx population grew from 75,000 in 1990 to 800,000 in 2010. Despite representing 17.8% of the total U.S. population, Latinx individuals are only awarded 4.5% of STEM doctoral degrees.

There are numerous barriers for Latinx students to enter STEM fields, including lack of access to mentorship from Latinx professionals (e.g., only 2% of teachers in Durham County identify as Latinx). Therefore, there is a critical need for equipping the next generation of Latinx students with the requisite skills to enter the workforce.

Along with efforts to widen the pipeline for Latinx students to higher education, it is imperative to provide opportunities for learning about various health-related and STEM careers and exposure to interdisciplinary professional role models, as well as guidance on applying to academic programs. Investing in the education, training and mentorship of these students represents one route to increasing the disproportionate underrepresentation of Latinx individuals in health and STEM professions.

Project Description

SALUD seeks to develop infrastructure for high school and college students to receive personal and professional development, mentorship and leadership skills via a 12-week curriculum centered on social determinants of health affecting the Latinx community.

This Bass Connections project aims to conduct a program evaluation of SALUD that will assess effectiveness of the curriculum and program acceptability and feasibility. Research objectives include:

  • Evaluation of efficacy for high school students centered on changes in attitudes as students relate to themselves as individuals and as future health professionals; changes in content knowledge of social determinants of health; and changes in skill sets in relation to research preparation and navigating the college application process
  • Evaluation of efficacy for undergraduate students centered on skill development in leadership; mentorship; program evaluation; curriculum design; group facilitation; data analysis (qualitative and quantitative); and written and oral communication
  • Evaluation of the long-term efficacy of SALUD using email surveys to track college applications; college admissions; students enrolled in college; scholarship applications; and amount of scholarship funding awarded
  • Evaluation of program acceptability through quantitative and qualitative feedback from student participants, presenters/facilitators and community partners/contributors following each session and after the 12-week program
  • Evaluation of program feasibility by examining high school participants’ session attendance; ability to engage in SALUD; willingness to participate in various program components; and barriers to participation.

Anticipated Outputs

Peer-reviewed papers for publication; conference presentations; research outputs posted to project website; periodic newsletter for stakeholders; preliminary data for future grant applications and support for sustained funding to SALUD


Fall 2019 – Spring 2020

  • Fall 2019: Preliminary planning; evaluate data from 2018-2019 program; begin manuscript writing to publish preliminary pilot results from Years 1 and 2; project team meets with SALUD team; update curriculum; create program schedule; invite speakers
  • Spring 2020: Data collection and program evaluation; continue meetings with SALUD team; submit abstract for Bridging the Gap NC Conference; administer acceptability and feasibility surveys; SALUD Commencement Ceremony; begin analysis of efficacy, acceptability and feasibility data; attend Bridging the Gap NC Conference; begin manuscript writing

Team Outputs to Date

Developing a Program Evaluation for SALUD (Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase 2020)


Community Matters 134: DPS Foundation - SALUD (Segment 03)

This Team in the News

Duke Medical Student Alex Villeda awarded Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarship

See related team, Expanding Latinx Representation in Health and STEM Careers: Evaluation of SALUD (2020-2021).


Image: SALUD website

SALUD website.

Team Leaders

  • Anthony Fuller, School of Medicine-Neurosurgery
  • Gabriela Nagy Carrasquel, School of Medicine-Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

/graduate Team Members

  • Ana Gomez
  • Ariana Paniagua, Medicine MD Second Year
  • Camilo Toro, Longitudinal Integrated Curric
  • Alex Villeda, Medicine MD Third Year, Primary Care Leadership-MD

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Fernanda Corona Rizo, Electrical & Computer Egr(BSE), Computer Science (BSE2)
  • Alexandra Diaz, Biology (BS)
  • James Jackson IV
  • Devi Lakhlani, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Erin Lee, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Kira Ward

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Brigit Carter, School of Nursing
  • Leonor Corsino, School of Medicine-Medicine
  • Rosa Gonzalez-Guarda, School of Nursing
  • Girija Mahajan, Duke College Advising Corps

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Joaquin Carcano, Latinos in the Deep South
  • El Futuro (Community Mental Health Agency for Latino population)
  • SHIFT NC (Sexual Health Initiatives for Teens)
  • Judith Montenegro, Latinos in the Deep South
  • Jewel Scott, Duke Alumnus