Recognized for his exceptional contributions to pediatric health care, York postdoctoral Fellow De-Lawrence Lamptey has been named Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital’s inaugural EMBARK scientist. The first program of its kind in Canada, EMBARK (Empowering Black Academics, Researchers and Knowledge creators) fills an important gap in amplifying diverse Black voices in disability research.
Launched in partnership with the Black Research Network, an institutional strategic initiative at the University of Toronto, the EMBARK program addresses barriers that researchers from Black communities face in order to set them up for successful academic careers. Specifically, the network’s mission is to promote and propel the interdisciplinary work of Black scholars at the university and beyond through investment and mentorship.
Lamptey was selected from a competitive pool of qualified applicants from across Toronto and surrounding areas. The important work that he will perform at the hospital will support children and youth with medical complexity, illness and injury.
“I am thrilled to join Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and be part of the outstanding work going on here in the field of childhood disability. I look forward to making a positive impact on children and youth with disabilities and families through this exciting opportunity,” said Lamptey.
The EMBARK program offers two scientists the following over a three-year term: start-up funds for their research; principle investigator status; access to advisors from a diverse range of backgrounds; connections to networks and career support; and media profiling to build their personal brands. In his new role, Lamptey will develop and lead an independent research program that advances scholarship in childhood disability, with a focus on meaningfully engaging Black communities.
Previously, Lamptey was one of the inaugural recipients of the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowships for Black and Indigenous Scholars at York University. The program supports up to four scholars every year in any field of study and provides the successful applicants with a salary of $70,000 annually for a two-year term. The important initiative seeks to address underrepresentation in many disciplines and fields, by providing Black and Indigenous scholars the ability to dedicate their time to pursue new research, while accessing the collegial resources, faculty supervision and mentorship. While at York, Lamptey’s research focused on the intersectionality of race/ethnicity and disability among children and youth in Canada, providing him the necessary expertise to succeed in his new role.
Programs like EMBARK and the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowships for Black and Indigenous Scholars actively address the systemic barriers that researchers from Black communities experience in advancing their careers by providing them the opportunities and resources to push the boundaries of knowledge, said Anesa Albert, associate director, communications, recruitment and digital engagement in the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
“Work performed by Black scholars in these programs results in better science as well as positive change,” said Albert.
Lamptey will formally begin in his position as EMBARK scientist on Sept. 1.