Dr. Rebecca Mullen’s New OpportunityRobert | Family Medicine May 17, 2021
Dr. Rebecca “Beka” Mullen has a lot going on in her life. She’s a junior faculty member with the Department of Family Medicine (DFM), she’s a member of the department’s research team, and she actively cares for patients at AF Williams Family Medicine Clinic.
If that’s not enough, she is also a new mom to 4 and a half month old August “Gus” Christopher Gunnison.
“I don’t think I completely comprehended or appreciated how busy parenthood would be,” says Dr. Mullen.
Wait. There’s more. Mullen was just accepted to the Clinical Faculty Scholars Program through the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI). So, “busy” is about to get even busier.
Each year, the Clinical Faculty Scholars Program accepts four to six budding researchers to take part in an intensive two-year research boot camp. Mullen and her program colleagues will:
**Be paired with senior research mentor.
**Participate in monthly research educational sessions.
**Be committed to at least 50% research in those two years.
**Receive help putting together a competitive research proposal over the course of the program.
“This is for someone who is newer in the research world and would benefit from this type of guidance over a couple of years to help put together, hopefully, those multi-million dollar proposals that do in-depth, long-term making you successful, independent investigators,” says Mullen.
Beka says she plans to center her research proposal around something near and dear to her heart – loneliness and its effect of overall health in underserved communities.
“I am also interested in focusing on the connection and relationship between loneliness and multiple chronic conditions – so the state of a person having not necessarily one disease state – but loneliness and a patient that has obesity and diabetes and hypertension – because that is real life primary care seeing a person with all three of those.”
She also wants to study the role of clinic and community-based interventions (helping patients deal with their loneliness) might play in improving health outcomes.
“Nobody has ever studied it,” she says, “it is incredibly under-researched at this point.”
Mullen is the first DFM researcher to be accepted to the program and says that she is incredibly excited and grateful.
“The only reason that I ever even considered to apply for this is because of the incredible support and encouragement that I got from Jodi Holtrop.”
She also received a generous letter of support from the DFM research team.
“This program guarantees that for two years I get research mentorship and I will have people, both peers and senior researchers, meeting with me, looking at my proposals, giving me tons of feedback. I will be able to learn from what they are working on from their proposals,” says Mullen.
“I am excited to build my networks and have that infrastructure.”
The program kicks off in July. And, in two years, Beka says she expects to have a fully developed, large research proposal ready for funders to consider – one that will launch her into full-fledged investigator mode.
Now, she says that she just needs to get a good handle on balancing her work life and her home life, because Gus will soon be on the move.
“I am really looking forward developing these new skills of time management and efficiency because I think that that is going to be absolutely necessary to thrive and to survive.”
You’ve got this Beka!