New Connections: Increasing Diversity of RWJF Programming is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) with technical assistance and direction provided by OMG Center for Collaborative Learning located in Philadelphia, PA. New Connections is a program of the Building Human Capital portfolio (www.rwjf.org/humancapital) at RWJF which works to develop and retain a diverse, well-trained leadership and workforce in health and healthcare to meet the needs of all Americans. Created in 2005, New Connections is designed to expand the diversity of perspectives that inform RWJF program strategy and introduce new researchers and scholars to the Foundation.
New Connections seeks to increase the exposure of RWJF to researchers and experts that represent historically underrepresented research communities.
The New Connections program emerged from a series of conversations among senior program staff at RWJF about how the Foundation could support and learn from the growing diversity of the communities we serve. The group, consisting of Foundation’s senior staff, leaders of the Human Capital Portfolio, and Debra Pérez, Ph.D., Senior Program Officer, recognized that talented individuals from underrepresented communities can often be isolated in their early- or mid-career pathways and overlooked for funding. To address this situation, an initiative was created that would foster new relationships between RWJF and researchers, evaluators, and consultants from underrepresented groups. This initiative was New Connections.
New Connections works with early- to mid-career scholars who:
- Have not received prior funding from RWJF as a principal investigator or through a program contract.
- And are members of ethnic or racial minority or low-income communities and/or the first in their family to receive a college degree.
Fundamentally, the New Connections program offers access to research funding opportunities as well as career development and mentoring activities.