Grants & Funding

2020 Travel Awardees

VERITY Travel Award Recipients

VERITY (Value and Evidence in Rheumatology using bioInformaTics, and advanced analYtics) is a NIAMS-funded P30 research program awarded to Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The 2020 VERITY course was held virtually Tuesday, May 12 through Friday, May 15. The course is aimed at clinical investigators pursuing rheumatic disease epidemiologic and patient-oriented research. Course attendees will consist of early-stage (typically residents, fellows, or junior faculty) investigators pursuing clinical/patient-oriented/epidemiologic research studies in rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. Attendees will develop or refine a research protocol or specific aims for a grant proposal during the course

Through a partnership with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, CARRA is able to select one member to receive full travel support and participate in the VERITY/Brigham Course in Rheumatology Clinical Research in Boston, MA at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Funding for this travel award is provided by NIAMS. The 2020 recipient for the full travel award is Patricia Vega Fernandez.


Patricia Vega Fernandez

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

I highly recommend the VERITY course for those early investigators looking to enhance or develop the skills necessary to become a successful clinical and translational researcher. This year the VERITY course was held virtually. The topics presented during the meeting were appropriately developed towards research in rheumatology. The lectures were interactive, easy to follow and provided practical exercises in rheumatology. The best part of the course is the mentoring you received. I met with several mentors and peers who provided high quality feedback to improve my specific aims page and career goals in general.  In summary, I feel fortunate I had the opportunity to attend this course.

CARRA also selected several applicants to receive partial sponsorship to participate in the VERITY/Brigham Course. Funding for this travel award is supported by the Arthritis Foundation. The 2020 recipients for partial travel support are Nicole Bitencourt, Jessica Bloom, and John Bridges.


Nicole Bitencourt

UT Southwestern Medical Center

I appreciated the opportunity to participate in the VERITY course and gain new insights into launching a career in clinical research. It was a well conducted course that did have to go online this year. Even so, we had the opportunity to hear from experts and expert panels on important topics including writing grants and on optimizing submitted articles to journals. I especially enjoyed the times we spent reviewing our specific aims page and our proposed research in small groups. It was informative to receive feedback and review others' research critically as well. I would recommend the course to those interested in a career in research; as lectures were online and recorded, you can start to review them online now!



Jessica Bloom

University of Colorado/Children's Hospital Colorado

The VERITY course was an invaluable experience that went virtual without a blip. The participants had each other’s best interests in mind while every faculty member, whether on their 1st or 10th zoom of the day, could not have been more generous with their time and guidance. Over the course of each day, I vacillated between self-doubt and confidence, frustration and motivation, and confusion and clarity; yet I left the week with a strong sense of direction, new mentor support, and a group of peers that will serve as both friends and resources. I will cherish the connections I made and truly appreciate the time and effort that went in to personalizing the course for all of us! Thank you CARRA for your support in attending this program! …even if I never had to leave my apartment 😊



John Bridges

Children's of Alabama/University of Alabama Birmingham

I am very appreciative of receiving CARRA sponsorship for the VERITY (Value and Evidence in Rheumatology using bioInformaTics and advanced analYtics) course. While I was looking forward to spending time in Boston and networking face-to-face with my peers as a part of this experience, I was very impressed by the virtual solution of a research meeting conducted entirely via Zoom (pictured). The faculty and staff of VERITY did a stellar job of adapting the meeting to its virtual constraints, and I came away learning valuable skills to continue to help my future career as a clinician scientist. I was able to get personalized feedback on and in-depth discussion about my research protocol. I enjoyed the depth and breadth of the programming and the expertise provided in the project-specific feedback that I received. While I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, my work-from-home colleague (pictured) thought that the curriculum could have used more firetrucks. Thanks again to CARRA for supporting me in this way as I continue to hone a skillset for a career as a young investigator.