This document contains the guidelines for operations in the VCU CoHD. These principles constitute the code of rules adopted by the VCU CoHD for the management of its activities.
The name of the unit to which these bylaws apply is the Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Health Disparities (VCU CoHD), Richmond, Va.
The purpose includes: securing funding to promote health disparities research capacity at VCU, establishing community partnerships for effective health communication and education to promote health literacy, and the training of researchers who will foster health disparity research.
Activities are integrated across the life and social sciences, humanities and health sciences for effective health communication, health literacy and community education. Activities engage a multidisciplinary team of basic, clinical and behavioral scientists from across the university.
The organizational structure consists of a director, scientific director, associate scientific director, director of program administration, director of research training, director of research support services, members, associate members, adjunct members, a steering committee, standing committees, ad hoc committees and staff. The functions of each are set forth below.
The dean of the School of Medicine shall appoint the director with the concurrence of the Vice President for Health Sciences.
Among the qualifications required of the director shall be a tenured position on the VCU faculty and potential effectiveness in administering the VCU CoHD's objectives.
The dean shall determine the term of the directorship.
The dean shall annually solicit from selected members an evaluation of the director to be carried out in accordance with university procedures.
The dean appoints the scientific director with input from the director. The scientific director is responsible for developing and sustaining a strategic research vision and facilitating research activities by developing and maintaining effective and creative partnerships to increase support for health disparities research, and facilitating extramural grant funding, scientific publications and translation of evidence-based research into clinical practice to improve health and patient outcomes.
The scientific director:
Associate Scientific Director
The scientific director appoints the associate scientific director with input from the director. Working with the scientific director, the associate scientific director plays a significant role in identifying health research needs and supporting such research through activities including the development of targeted programming.
The associate scientific director:
Director of Research Training
The director of research training is appointed by the director and has oversight of the research training mission of the VCU CoHD. This position facilitates research training at all levels: undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral and faculty, with the ultimate goal of increasing diversity of the workforce in biomedical research.
The director of research training:
Director of Research Support Services
The director of research support services provides leadership and support for a wide range of research process related services including planning and administrative matters related to research support, policies and procedures, workforce training and education activities.
The director of research support services:
The dean shall appoint a steering committee whose function shall be to assist with planning and advisement to the director on programs and activities and to review progress. It approves and reviews membership and shall award certificates and/or honors to trainees. The committee also oversees the planning of symposia and seminar series.
Membership on the steering committee shall consist of 26 members who are expected to participate actively in the affairs of the VCU CoHD and to serve as chairs of sub-committees as may be established by the steering committee.
Members shall be appointed for a term of three years.
The director shall chair the steering committee.
The committee may appoint ad hoc external advisory boards and ad hoc committees for advisement regarding programs and policy as deemed necessary.
There shall be standing committees on research, research training, and community engagement and outreach each consisting of up to 10 members selected as follows:
Full membership is extended to faculty and academic professionals holding permanent appointment in degree-granting departments or in clinical departments within the university with interests in fundamental and applied topics and/or engaging in research and/or training in the areas of purpose under the VCU CoHD's direct concern. Prospective members are nominated by the existing membership to the steering committee. Nominees submit a curriculum vitae and/or resume and a letter of interest. Membership approval is based upon: 1.) active research program; or 2.) collaborative activities with existing members and/or interest in developing cross-disciplinary collaborations; or 3.) dedication to research training; and/or 4.) sincere interest in contributing to strategies to reduce health disparities. Members are approved by the steering committee for terms of three years with the option of continuing membership.
Each member shall be entitled to attend meetings and shall be entitled to services and core resources. Commitments to the VCU CoHD are defined in the "Procedures of Operation" document. The steering committee has the discretion to decide which, if any, matters shall be submitted to the members for a vote.
Associate membership is extended to graduate students, residents and fellows officially enrolled at VCU with interest in the work of the VCU CoHD.
Adjunct membership is extended to scholars at other institutions who show interest and expertise in health disparities training and/or research, members of the commonwealth who are interested in the programs and others who directly or indirectly support activities.
The membership meets at least four times per year. The attendance of one-third of the members shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of a vote.
There will be at least one meeting of the steering committee each academic semester. The attendance of half plus one, or 14, shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of a vote. Special meetings may be called at any time by a quorum of committee membership.
The management team meets monthly and consists of the director, scientific director, associate director, director of research training, administrative and fiscal staff.
A health disparity symposium will be held annually and a seminar series will be held during the academic year.
Written notice of meetings shall be given not less than 10 calendar days before the date that such a meeting is to be held.
A discussion of budget shall occur monthly between the director and fiscal staff. A budget report shall be made to the dean during the spring budget hearings to include priorities for the following academic year.
The original or a copy of the bylaws including amendments and a membership roster giving the names and addresses of members will be kept at the VCU CoHD's principal place of residence.
A document entitled “Procedures of Operations” that includes the general principles and operating guidelines for execution of activities will be maintained.
These bylaws may be amended at any time by a two-thirds vote of the steering committee. The director or members of the steering committee may make recommendations. Members may propose amendments to the director or the steering committee for consideration. Proposed amendments must be distributed at least one week prior to a vote. These bylaws and the governance of the VCU CoHD must be compliant with guidelines, procedures and policies of VCU.