RDDCTM 2024 Rare Disease Fellowship Program

The Rare Diseases Diversity Coalition (RDDC) is excited to invite applications for host sites to participate in the 2024-25 Rare Disease Fellowship Program.

RDDC Opportunities

About the Program

This program aims to inspire the next generation of the medical workforce, fostering a commitment to addressing rare disease disparities, particularly among people of color, underserved, and underrepresented communications. Through collaboration with rare disease organizations, the fellowship provides invaluable experiences for fellows to better understand the significant impacts of rare diseases on communities. 

Fellowship Overview:

  • Duration: Six months 
  • Open to: Undergraduates, medical students, early-career physicians, nurses, medical researchers (practicing for less than five years), and medical or nursing residents with a demonstrated interest in addressing rare disease disparities among communities of color. 
  • Priority Consideration: Given to individuals from underrepresented and/or underserved communities, including those with disabilities or living with a rare disease. 

Previous and Current Host Sites:

  • The Alliance to Cure Cavernous Malformations
  • Gillette Children's
  • Undiagnosed Diseases Network Coordinating Center/Harvard Medical School 
  • Rare Disease Diversity Coalition

Host-Site Requirements:

  • Type: Rare disease organizations (advocacy, research, medical/healthcare). - Identify 1-3 projects addressing significant issues for people living with rare diseases with an emphasis on addressing diversity, inclusion, and health equity.
  • Capacity to perform interviews with referred candidates and submit final decisions.
  • Capacity to maintain weekly communication, track time and virtual attendance, and support the fellow in achieving program goals.
  • Provide necessary resources, access to equipment and programs needed to complete duties, and provide additional funding when applicable for meeting attendance to enhance the fellowship experience.
  • Capacity to attend required meetings with RDDC to assess fellowship progress.
  • Commitment to training, mentoring, and supporting the fellow throughout the program.
  • Ability to receive fellowship funds from RDDC and disperse monthly payments to the fellow.
  • Must have programs and/or services that address diversity, inclusion, and health equity within the rare disease populations they serve.

Mentor Responsibilities:

  • Oversee fellow’s work activities and foster professional development.
  • Integrate the fellow into the host site environment and broaden their network.
  • Provide financial support for meeting attendance and work-related materials.
  • Express a caring and interested attitude in the fellow's activities and goals.
  • Commit to spending four hours per week with the fellow during the first month and two hours per week thereafter. 

Host Site Selection Criteria: 

  • Scope, quality, and diversity of experience offered to the fellow.
  • Experience of supervisors/mentors.
  • Potential professional development opportunities for the fellow. 

Benefits to Hosting an RDDC Fellow: 

  • Address unmet community needs.
  • Infuse additional capacity and expertise.
  • Cost-effective collaboration.
  • Connect with a network of rare disease partners.
  • Contribute to inspiring the next generation of rare disease advocates and healthcare professionals.

Timing: 

  • Fellowship Application begins in April 2024
  • Candidate Finalists selected by Aug 15 2024
  • Fellow to begin Sept 2024 

Application Deadline:

March 15, 2024, at 11:59 pm EST. 

The RDDC is a partnership of rare disease experts, patient and provider organizations, and health equity advocates working to address the extraordinary challenges faced by rare disease patients of diverse communities. It is committed to being a catalyst for rare disease patients who have been marginalized and the extraordinary challenges they face, seeking solutions on diversity in research and clinical trials, in the healthcare workforce, in policy and legislation, improving access and coverage, and increasing provider and patient engagement. RDDC seeks to identify and advocate for evidenced-based solutions to alleviate the disproportionate burden of rare diseases on these communities and help achieve greater equity within the rare disease community. 

Apply Today