Alumni Happenings


Scholars in the 2019 cohort shared the following about their HELI experiences…

HELI 2019 group

This is more than a training, more than a workshop. Hearing everyone’s experiences…it makes you feel better. I was never able to explain my problems. Now I have a cohort. This is more like developing a family. I’m really looking forward to working with you in the future. We know each other as human beings rather than colleagues.
Before I came here I didn’t know what to expect. I was calling it “HELL-ee.” I don’t know if was intentional to call it “HEAL-y,” but we really did come here to heal these traumas.


Scholars in the 2018 cohort shared the following about their HELI experiences…

HELI allowed time for active reflection in a safe place, a time for affirmation, encouragement, and development of relationships. This program does not compare to anything else I have attended.


Thank you for this opportunity. I truly appreciated the opportunity to “see behind the curtain” to learn how high quality community engaged research is carried out in the real world at all levels of an institution (e.g., IRB, university, school, department, research teams, individual researchers, grant writing, recruitment). We all know we SHOULD conduct community engaged research with community members as equal partners in the research process, but HELI showed us HOW to do this amidst the many challenges associated with doing this while simultaneously trying to complete all the necessary steps to earn tenure.


Scholars in the 2016 cohort shared the following about their HELI experiences…

I wanted to say before I forget, what the “secret sauce” is; What distinguishes [HELI] is the intentional and deliberate nature of intentional reflection. The intentional pre-survey and pre-work we had to do in advance. We hung out every night. The reflective nature is the secret sauce. You take us out of our silos where we’re all machines and let us just be. I said I needed to recharge when I came here. This is a space of collective strength and support. The care that was put into the exercises.


Not feeling competitive…has been really nice. Refreshing…when people have given me advice…it doesn’t feel the same as someone telling me to do what they have done. Or here, read my CV. Here people have thought ‘what do I know that can help this guy.’ And then they share it with me. The idea of the well-rounded person is something I’ve always been looking for. I’ve seen my colleagues as little research robots…where do they plug themselves in a night. The ability to understand others as well rounded people is another ingredient in the secret sauce.


Thank you. It’s been great to be in this space. I said I needed allies. You guys are more than allies, you’re accomplices. I found accomplices here.


Scholars in the 2015 cohort shared the following about their HELI experiences…

I think attending HELI as a white scholar is a unique experience, one that has changed me. In particular, I have been sensitized to the possibility that, as I move forward in my career and my colleagues and I become mentors, mentors of color are more likely to have students of color, who may require more intensive mentoring (because of institutionalized issues, not personal failings). I guess what I mean is that my colleagues of color will need support for many reasons, and I hope to be a source of support for them and an ally in their professional and personal lives.


Attending HELI was an amazing opportunity for me. I not only gained important skills that I know will serve me well in my career, but also met amazing individuals who I know I will be able to turn to for support of various sorts. I enjoyed the conversations I had with many of my peers and program faculty, and very much look forward to staying connected. Moreover, there has not been any other program I have attended as a scholar of color, that has provided me the type of space that HELI did to be as open and honest about my struggles and experiences as a woman of color in the academy. I appreciate that wholeheartedly. I feel grateful to now be part of the HELI family.


I had never attended a program where leadership was emphasized in the manner that HELI emphasized it. I learned SO MUCH about the diverse ways in which I can engage in leadership opportunities and be a leader. I appreciated this aspect of HELI and got much out of it.


Scholars at the 2014 alumni booster session shared the following about their HELI experiences…

HELI, for me, is the only place that allows us to explore our own minority status and our own problems that we experience as minorities to do minority research. And to help other people that share that status with us. I’ve been in other groups where it’s dandy and nice to do this research, but this place, the part where you explore what you are to be able to help others is never addressed. That’s extremely important because once we understand what we are, we also start understanding what other people are and how we can help them. This is a fantastic group. 


HELI has made a great contribution not only to my career, but to my life.


One thing I really appreciate about HELI is the opportunity for truth telling. That’s often a piece that’s missing in research institutes.


I really like the small size of HELI. People often don’t feel comfortable speaking in front of a large group – keeping is small really helps.


Scholars in the 2013 cohort shared the following about their HELI experiences…

HELI was transformative!  Thank you to the selection committee for inviting me.  For the first time I do know “I can do this!”


HELI was fantastic. It provided an opportunity be connected with peers and senior colleagues doing similar research. It also enabled me to benefit from shared experiences of the speakers. The bonds I formed with the HELI faculty and other HELI scholars will remain vital as I advance professional. I will definitely pass the word on HELI to other health disparity scholars.


Scholars in the 2012 cohort shared the following about their HELI experiences…

I have such fond memories of each of you and learned very valuable information at the Institute. One of the most important things I learned is that it is ok to be real, to accept our humanity, imperfections and all. It empowers us to accept those we serve just as we are.
This is one of the best academic experience that included networking, knowledge sharing, learning activities and lots of emotions from day 1.  I am sure that this model of empowering emerging scholars has reshaped my vision and mission in own professional field  I am truly grateful!
I really cannot express how much I appreciated the week in Madison with the other HELI scholars. I feel rejuvenated about my work and more confident that I am on the right path. Thank you so much for the opportunity.


Scholars in the 2011 cohort shared the following about their HELI experiences…

I am delighted about the transparency and authenticity of the leadership of HELI, and the ‘space’ they created. I brought my whole self and learned in all of these capacities, not just professional. I felt from the beginning that the leadership here created that space. Typically conferences require me to project my professional self only and ‘leave part of me’ at the door. Here, my whole ‘career’ was able to attend.


Coming from the basic science world, I didn’t know how I’d be received, but [the opportunity to discuss her work in this setting] has inspired me to keep doing what I’m doing.  I’m excited to write papers now!


Scholars in the 2010 cohort shared the following about their HELI experiences…

I have never participated in a program that has resulted in research collaborations, networking and building of friendships. This was an excellent program and I look forward to a reunion!


At the end of the week I was more knowledgeable, enlightened, empowered, and assured that with patience and strong-will I can make a positive and significant impact on health disparities.


 This was a great training. The balance between professional and personal development added an element to the training that is often missing from similar trainings. 


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