MOLA Faculty Scholar Program (FaSP)

The Medical Organization for Latino Advancement (MOLA) is a non-profit association of Hispanic/Latino physicians and health professionals working for career advancement, linguistic and cultural competency, personal wellness, and health equity for the good of the entire Hispanic/Latino community.

What is the MOLA-MRF Scholars Program? 

The MOLA-MRF Scholar Program is a scholarship and research training program that aims to: (a) reduce the overwhelming cost that many Latinx students face in the process of seeking healthcare degrees and (b) provide both individualized and group research skills preceptorship to promote academic careers.

The MOLA-MRF Student Scholars are recipients of MOLA’s scholarships funded mainly by the Michael Reese Research and Education Foundation (MRF). Every year, 8 to 10 individuals are selected through a competitive application process to receive these scholarships. These scholarships are merit and need-based awards granted on an annual basis to students pursuing higher education in healthcare. Following their selection as a MOLA-MRF Student Scholar, each Student Scholar indicates their research area(s) of interest, is paired with a MOLA professional volunteer research mentor, and chooses a research question that they will tackle during their MOLA-MRF Scholar year. In addition to individual pairings with a volunteer research mentor, MOLA-MRF Student Scholars are supervised regarding overall research project milestones throughout the year by the MOLA Scholar Faculty and Program Director. After the MOLA-MRF Scholar year, all Student Scholars present their work as a poster or oral presentation at the MOLA annual Latino Health Symposium. For more information on the MOLA-MRF Scholars Program, click here

What is the Faculty Scholars Program? 

MOLA has created a Faculty Scholar Program (FaSP) to develop and enhance research training and advancement opportunities for Latinx individuals interested in academic and clinical research careers; to prepare Latinx faculty to provide research supervision to our MOLA-Michael Reese Research and Education Foundation (MRF) Student Scholars; and to support health professionals in using and enhancing their cultural and linguistic skills to improve the health of Latinx communities.

To this end, we are seeking a Faculty Scholar to join our second cohort of the MOLA Faculty Scholars Program (FaSP). The Faculty Scholar must be an early career clinical or research faculty in any health discipline and will commit to a 1.5-year tenure as a Faculty Scholar beginning in September 2023 through October of the following year (2024). During their tenure, the Faculty Scholar will work under the leadership and guidance of the FaSP Director, Dr. Pilar Ortega, MD, to gain the necessary skills and experiences to advance to the next level in their chosen healthcare and academic field. Specifically, the Faculty Scholar will supervise the MOLA-MRF Student Scholars as they complete research scholarly projects. The Faculty Scholar will receive a stipend of $15,000 for 1.5 years.

What does a Faculty Scholar do? 

As part of their experience, the Faculty Scholar will be responsible for implementing the educational components and providing one-on-one and small-group support to the MOLA-MRF Student Scholars. Each MOLA-MRF Student Scholar will develop and implement their scholarly project under the supervision of the Faculty Scholar. (Click here for information on the MOLA-MRF Scholars program) 

  • Participate in the review of Student Scholar applications and Student Scholar selection
  • Identify one-on-one mentorship pairings for each of 8-10 MOLA Student Scholars with a MOLA professional volunteer research mentor 
  • Provide supervision and serve as co-investigator on the research projects developed by the MOLA-MRF Student Scholars 
  • Meet with MOLA-MRF Student Scholars, ideally weekly for 8 research-focused sessions during the MOLA-MRF scholar program 
  • Coordinate and offer a minimum of 4 structured didactic events for Student Scholars.
  • Supervise the preparation of MOLA scholar projects for academic presentation at the annual MOLA Latino Health Symposium. (Note: Preparation of the research work completed during the MOLA Scholar Program and submission for additional conference presentations and/or peer-reviewed journals is strongly encouraged.) 
  • Coordinate a minimum of one community event to disseminate the work of the MOLA-MRF Student Scholars to directly engage with Latinx communities. 
  • Commit to submission of a minimum of 5 abstracts for presentations (poster or oral) and proposals for journal articles.
  • Create and discuss academic development and future career plans with a senior MOLA leadership/faculty.
  • Work as part of the MOLA Education and Research Committee Team, with the support of a MOLA’s Fellow who provides administrative assistance for the MOLA Scholar program execution.
Who can apply to become a Faculty Scholar? 

The FaSP is open to any early or mid-career Latinx physician, healthcare professional, or faculty, whose expertise, interest, and academic abilities have focused on serving Latinx communities and closing the gap in health disparities experienced by these communities. 

The applicant must: 

  • Be of Latinx/Hispanic heritage 
  • Have a Master’s degree or higher in a health-related field 
  • Be employed in a healthcare-related institution (any institution funding type is acceptable – non-profit, private, government, etc.) 
  • Meet our criteria for “early career” faculty, defined as a person who obtained the highest degree no longer than 10 years ago; and is currently at the rank of Assistant Professor or lower. 
  • The faculty position must be held at a United States institution of medical education 
  • Agree to complete Faculty Scholar onboarding (approximately 5 hours total) in the Summer of 2023 (exact dates to be discussed with successful candidates). 
  • Approximate time commitment 3 hours per week from March-May and 7 hours per week from June to October. June, July, and August commitment includes 1 weekly virtual group meeting with MOLA-MRF Student Scholars.
  • Be available to attend both the MOLA Scholarship and Anniversary Celebration in Spring or Summer, 2024 (exact date and logistics TBD) and the MOLA 2023 Latino Health Symposium on October 13th-14th, 2023 (an in-person event in Chicago, IL). 
What are the steps to apply? 
  • Please submit a Letter of Interest, an up-to-date CV/Resume, and 2 references (including the current supervisor) to [email protected] 
  • Applications will close on August 15th, 2023
Why should I apply for the FaSP? 

Faculty scholars will benefit from a supportive and diverse research environment, the opportunity to participate and co-author 8-12 research projects with high potential Latinx health impact, and professional development skills training, such as communication, management, leadership, and teamwork. As a supervisor for the MOLA-MRF Scholars Program, Faculty scholars will have the opportunity to meet and work with 8-12 aspiring healthcare researchers and will have numerous opportunities to network and collaborate with MOLA leadership and MOLA professional volunteer research mentors. Faculty scholars will receive a stipend and will have a partially flexible schedule. Most work can be completed remotely/virtually.

Past and current Faculty Scholars

Dr. Monica Bianco

Past MOLA-MRF Faculty Scholar

Mónica E. Bianco is an assistant professor at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine and an attending physician at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Pediatric Endocrinology. She received her MD from Loyola Stritch School of Medicine where she also completed her pediatric residency. She then completed a pediatric endocrinology fellowship at Northwestern University/Lurie Children’s Hospital. Dr. Bianco’s faculty appointment is primarily as a clinician investigator with a focus on the developmental origins of youth onset type 2 diabetes. Her research is supported by institutional and NIH grants. She is also involved in advocacy to improve healthcare for underserved communities and increasing representation of underrepresented minorities in medicine. She will participate this year as the Program Director of the  MOLA Scholars Program.

Dr. Marco Bonilla

2024 MOLA-MRF Faculty Scholar

Marco Bonilla is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, section of Nephrology at The University of Chicago. He specializes in onconephrology and glomerular diseases. Dr. Bonilla received an MD from the University of El Salvador. He completed his residency in internal medicine at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, New York, and fellowships in nephrology with an onconephrology and glomerular disease track at Hofstra University at Northwell Health. Dr. Bonilla is a member of the Social Media Committee for the American Society of Onconephrology and the Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation journal. He is also a course instructor for the Glomerular Disease Study & Trial Consortium (GlomCon) virtual glomerular disease fellowship.