About the Program

The Center for Improving Care Delivery for the Aging (CICADA) is one of a national network of 18 Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) funded by the National Institute of Aging (NIA). CICADA focuses on the discipline of health services research and on the organization, financing, and delivery of health care for older adults.

The essential goal of RCMAR is to recruit, mentor, and develop individuals from underrepresented backgrounds into accomplished, independent research scientists. This process begins with pilot research projects RCMAR Scientists undertake with guidance from their mentors. Since its founding 21 years ago, more than 400 research scholars have come through the RCMAR program, most going on to academic research careers.

Leadership and Staff

  • Rachel M. Werner, MD, PhD, CICADA Co-Director, Administrative Core Co-Director
  • Allison Willis, MD, MS, CICADA Co-Director, Administrative Core Co-Director
  • Julie Szymaszek, MA, CICADA, Administrative Director
  • Meghan Lane-Fall, MD, MSHP, CICADA Research Education Component Co-Director
  • Mary Naylor, PhD, RN, FAAN, CICADA Research Education Component Co-Director
  • Norma Coe, PhD, CICADA Analysis Core Co-Director
  • Rebecca Hubbard, PhD, CICADA Analysis Core Co-Director

How to Apply

CICADA selects three new RCMAR Scientists each year through a competitive call for 1-year pilot grants. The 2021 application season begins on October 1, 2021. Applications are due December 10, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Successful applicants will be notified of funding by February 1, 2022, with funding to begin July 1, 2022.


Who is Eligible to Apply to Become a CICADA Scientist?

Applicants must be post-doctoral researchers and junior faculty who are underrepresented in research. This includes (1) MD and MD/PhD clinical fellows who have completed their residency; (2) PhD postdoctoral trainees; and (3) MD/PhD, MD, and PhD junior faculty [instructors or assistant professor for less than three years at time of application] who are underrepresented, based on the NIH’s Diversity Statement.

Applicants must be committed to developing new research skills in health services research focused on aging. Applicants can be affiliated with any U.S. university and is not limited to those with Penn affiliations.

What is the focus of CICADA pilot project?

  • Support will be given for pilot research projects that are focused on issues of health care quality, access, affordability, and/or equity for older adults using the methods of health economics or health services research.
  • Projects that leverage the data in available through LDI and CICADA’s Analysis Core will be given priority. More details on these resources are available online.
  • The proposed project should lead to publication of at least one first-authored, peer-reviewed manuscript. Priority will be given to projects that will lead to subsequent funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), particularly the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

What Resources are available to CICADA Scientists?

  • Funding of up to $35,000 to complete a one-year research project
    • Research funds can support salary, research expenses, travel, equipment, and/or supplies as appropriate to the project.
    • Any sub-contracts for work conducted outside of the PI’s home institution (including indirects; the indirect rate for this funding mechanism is 8%) must be included in the budgeted amount.
  • Mentoring, including:
    • Standardized mentoring protocols, including goal setting and group mentoring meetings, as well as personnel and collaborator management
    • Professional development, including job talk or presentation preparation
  • CICADA-specific programming, including:
    • Monthly seminars from CICADA’s expert faculty, including statistical analyses plans, effective presentations, and data management
    • Works in Progress meetings to discuss research findings
    • Academic and professional networking opportunities
    • Grant-writing resources
    • Research award administration and research project management
  • Appointment to Penn LDI as a Fellow, including all resources available to LDI Fellows.

Who can I contact for more information?

Please contact  CICADA@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

CICADA Scholars

2022-2023 Cohort

Yehoda Martei

Yehoda Martei, MD, MSCE

Assistant Professor, Hematology/Oncology, Perelman School of Medicine

Anarina Murillo

Anarina Murillo, PhD

Fellow, Center for Improving Care Delivery for the Aging (CICADA), Perelman School of Medicine

Onome Osokpo

Onome Osokpo, PhD, RN

Postdoctoral Fellow, Biobehavioral Health Sciences, Penn Nursing

Past CICADA Cohorts

2021-2022 Cohort

Lan Doan

Lan Đoàn, PhD, MPH

Postdoctoral Fellow, Population Health, Section for Health Equity, Center for the Study of Asian American Health, New York University

Courtney Lee

Courtney R. Lee, MD, MPH

Clinical Fellow, General Internal Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine

Rose Onyeali

Rose N. Onyeali, MD 

MD/MSHP Student, Health Policy Research, Perelman School of Medicine

2020-2021 Cohort

Juan Pablo Atal

Juan Pablo Atal, PhD, MS

Assistant Professor, Economics, School of Arts and Sciences

Roman Ayele, PhD, MPH

Research Scientist, Veterans Health Administration, and Assistant Professor, Colorado School of Public Health

Maia Clark-Cutaia, RN, MSN, PhD

Assistant Professor, Nursing, NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing

2019-2020 Cohort

Nwamaka Eneanya

Nwamaka Eneanya, MD, MPH 

Assistant Professor, Renal-Electrolyte Hypertension, 
Perelman School of Medicine

Salama Freed, PhD, MA, MS 

Postdoctoral Researcher, Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine

Eleanor Rivera, PhD, RN 

Assistant Professor, Population Health Nursing Science, University of Illinois Chicago

2018-2019 Cohort

Kevin Jenkins

Kevin Ahmaad Jenkins, PhD

Vice-Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Social Policy & Practice

Adriana Perez

Adriana Perez, PhD, CRNP, ANP-BC, FAAN

Assistant Professor, Family and Community Health, Penn Nursing

Jasmine Travers, PhD

Assistant Professor, NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing

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