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

Student Opportunities

Ideally, this team will include 2 medical students and 4 undergraduates who have demonstrated investment and commitment in the Latinx community (e.g., through volunteering, extracurriculars, employment), and have a desire to improve their leadership and mentoring skills.

Additionally, we will seek individuals who have experience in public speaking, leadership, tutoring and mentoring. We are interested in recruiting undergraduates who have a goal of applying to graduate, professional and/or medical school.

Medical students will serve as project managers responsible for editing the curriculum, inviting speakers, planning program events, recruiting undergraduates, developing research surveys, writing manuscripts, preparing conference presentations and mentoring students.

Undergraduate team members will contribute to editing and delivering the curriculum, leading program sessions, writing manuscripts, preparing conference presentations and mentoring high school students.

Student team members will not be required to work through the summer portions of the project.

Student travel opportunities are to be determined.


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


Independent study credit available for fall and spring semesters


Image: SALUD website

SALUD website.

/faculty/staff Team Members

  • Brigit Carter, School of Nursing
  • Leonor Corsino, School of Medicine-Medicine
  • Anthony Fuller, School of Medicine-Surgery: Neurosurgery
  • Rosa Gonzalez-Guarda, School of Nursing
  • Girija Mahajan, Duke College Advising Corps
  • Gabriela Nagy Carrasquel, School of Medicine-Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences*
  • Kenyon Railey, School of Medicine-Community and Family Medicine: Physician Assistant

/zcommunity Team Members

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