"iTHRIV"ing Through the Pandemic: The iTHRIV/KL2 Scholars Program Across Two Institutions
The iTHRIV Scholars Program is a two-year, cohort-based, mentored, career development award open to eligible junior faculty candidates at the University of Virginia (UVA) and Virginia Tech Carilion (VTC). Awardees participate in weekly curriculum sessions focused around developing their careers in clinical and translational research, including sessions focused on data science, team science, peer mentoring, and professional development. Launched in July 2017, the iTHRIV Scholars Program at UVA provided cohort-based in-person sessions with a variety of instructors in a flipped-classroom environment.
In March 2020, while interviewing applicants for the cohort of Scholars representing the integration of the inaugural VTC Scholars Program with the UVA Program, we received the COVID-19 research shut-down order, which forced us to pivot quickly to virtual delivery and be nimble with the content of the iTHRIV Scholars Program, in order to support the iTHRIV Scholars through a diverse set of personal, professional, and research-related challenges and continue to prepare them for their future careers. Despite the described challenges, the iTHRIV Scholars Program as well as the Scholar community have discovered creative ways to pivot science, research, communication, and to continue to maintain the valuable community aspects of the program. iTHRIV Scholars are “iTHRIV”ing through the pandemic, receiving extramural funding, submitting proposals, publishing their work, and innovating their own workspaces.