Postdoctoral Faculty Fellow/Assistant Professor Lance Keene and Professor and NYU Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH) Director Vincent Guilamo-Ramos have been awarded a 2020 William T. Grant Foundation Mentoring Grant. The grant is designed to help established scholars hone their skills as mentors attuned to the career development challenges disproportionately faced by early career underrepresented scholars, and position their mentees for successful academic research careers.
During the course of the two-year, $110,000 grant, Dr. Keene, in close collaboration with Dr. Guilamo-Ramos, will lead the research project “Multi-dimensional inequality among young sexual minority men of color: Exploring the potential to leverage existing HIV treatment and prevention infrastructure to improve life chances.” This formative, qualitative study will explore the perspectives and experiences of young Black and Latino sexual minority men (ages 15 to 25) regarding multiple intersecting dimensions of inequality—i.e., socioeconomic, health, political, and sociocultural inequality—and the relationship of these factors to long-term life chances. In addition, Drs. Keene and Guilamo-Ramos will elicit perspectives regarding the potential to leverage existing HIV service infrastructure to address factors shaping intersectional inequality and improve life opportunities.
Said Dr. Keene, who completed his PhD at The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, “I view the W.T. Grant Mentoring Grant Program as an ideal resource to support the advancement of my professional network, impact practice and policy, and position me to pursue independent funding. Moreover, I strongly believe in the important role of mentorship for postdoctoral and early-career faculty success in academe. Therefore, the development of my own capacity as a mentor for future students and early-career scholars represents an additional meaningful career objective. To that end, I envision the grant as an opportunity to strengthen my own capacity to begin serving as a mentor to undergraduate and graduate students at NYU. As part of our ongoing work with the W.T. Grant Foundation, Dr. Guilamo-Ramos and I are also committed to the development of the next generation of scholars who are focused on reducing inequality and enhancing life opportunity among sexual minority youth of color.”
Since arriving at NYU, Dr. Keene has worked collaboratively with CLAFH researchers, leading to publications in high impact journals such as Pediatrics, participated in nationwide panel discussions pertaining to LGBTQ youth, including the Human Rights Campaign’s All Children All Families program webinar, and he currently holds an appointment as an Affiliate Investigator with the NIDA funded P30 Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR).
“Within a framework of incremental intervention science,” said Dr. Guilamo-Ramos, “the qualitative research study at the center of this grant represents an important first step in Dr. Keene’s long-term program of research that is designed to develop, evaluate, and disseminate evidence-based interventions that reduce inequality among young Black and Latino sexual minority men, and support them in the critical transition to healthy adulthood.”
Dr. Keene will oversee and implement the study, working closely with Dr. Guilamo-Ramos and the research team at CLAFH. In the process, he will further develop his skill set in community engagement, participant recruitment, data collection, analysis, publication submission, and grants management ‒ including hiring, training, supervising, and mentoring underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students to work on the study.
Under the grant, Drs. Keene and Guilamo-Ramos will also pursue a carefully crafted mentoring plan, building on their existing mentee-mentor relationship, that will benefit Dr. Keene’s transition from a postdoctoral research fellow to an independent researcher, and will enhance Dr. Guilamo-Ramos’ capacity to shape institutional mentoring programming at NYU, where he serves as Associate Vice Provost for Mentoring and Outreach Programs. Dr. Guilamo-Ramos noted that both the grant’s primary research activity and the mentoring framework that he and Dr. Keene have developed relate to the ongoing racial and ethnic issues in our society. In mentoring Dr. Keene, an African American man whose research interests relate to inequality among young, urban, sexual minority men of color, Dr. Guilamo-Ramos said he recognizes both similarities and differences in their commitments, identities, and experiences. One of the key goals of his and Dr. Keene’s mentoring plan is for both to reflect on positionality in the contexts of mentoring and research and to share structural best practices for reducing the negative impact of positionality in mentoring scholars of color and conducting research with vulnerable youth populations.