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Launched in 2018, the grant program underwent a reinvention in 2022 to better support projects with potential to transform the University. Over the 2022-23 academic year, 10 projects that received initial funding built out and demonstrated their proofs of concept with an eye toward competing for one of two $500,000 scale-up grants. While they advanced their pilots, the project leads attended monthly virtual lunches and comprehensive training sessions to understand University infrastructure, and received personalized support to help advance their projects.
In May, the leads participated in a Big PITTch event before three University leaders, focusing on how they would use additional funding to institutionalize their pilot projects. The winning proposals were selected for their likelihood to directly advance the Plan for Pitt, excellence across a broad spectrum of stakeholders, pre-and post-assessment metrics and long-term sustainability plans.
Both winning projects will receive additional support from project management professionals in the Pitt Portfolio and Project Management Office.
Here are the inaugural winners:
Sexual Misconduct and Prevention and Survivor Support
Carrie Benson, Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five women experience attempted or completed sexual assault during her college years, as did 6% of men. There’s an urgent need to implement new data-driven, inclusive prevention initiatives, and Pitt can comprehensively respond to this crisis in ways that will significantly reduce the rates of sexual misconduct victimization. Funds awarded from the Pitt Seed initiative will be used to facilitate new and innovative educational programs, wide-sweeping awareness building campaigns and crucial prevention research, all designed to reduce sexual misconduct victimization.
CUPID: Fostering an Inclusive Community in the Schools of the Health Sciences
Susan Graff, Department of Physician Assistant Studies
The Community, Pedagogy, Identity, and Difficulty (CUPID) Project addresses the need to improve community building and support for underrepresented groups in medicine. With an accessible asynchronous curriculum that focuses specifically on how social identities and equity manifest on Pitt campuses, CUPID will contribute to the creation of an inclusive and equitable campus environment that assesses both individual and learner engagement. Broader impact will be achieved through documentary-style video interviews supplemented with academic literature on concepts such as social identity and intersectionality to foster an inclusive environment at Pitt.