The SAMHSA Minority Fellowship Program

RQ Platform’s Fellowship solution established a Centralized Hub for the SAMHSA Minority Fellowship Program, streamlining the management of fellowship applications, automating manual administrative tasks, ensuring efficient review, introduced features like RQ SmartTracker, custom widgets, email scheduler, and the RQ Alumni Directory leading to a 152% increase in Fellowship Applications. 

Additionally, RQ introduced post-selection support functionality by implementing the End-of-Semester review, facilitating the tracking of progress for Masters and Doctoral Fellows.

152%

Increase in number of Total Master Fellowship Applications

61%

Increase in number of Total Doctoral Fellowship Applications

50%

Hours of manual work saved

Introduction

Industry: STEM

Location: United States

The Minority Fellowship Program’s (MFP) mission is to educate ethnic minority nurses with expertise in mental health and/or substance use disorders that are prepared to assume leadership positions in education, research, practice, and health policy. 

​The program encompasses two distinct tracks: MFP Doctoral, offering 3-5 year fellowships for individuals pursuing doctoral studies in minority mental health and substance abuse issues, and MFP Masters, supporting full-time accredited master’s degree students in behavioural health or substance abuse disorders prevention and treatment.

Objective

Provide seamless fellowship management using tailored customizations for efficient applicant handling and extend continuous post-selection support.

Challenges

The end-to-end process of managing Master and Doctoral Fellowships from the application process to post-program follow-ups had become difficult to manage.

Struggles to Complete Manual Form

Completing manual application forms for the Master and Doctoral Fellowships proved time-consuming, requiring extensive administrative follow-ups and risking errors within applications.

Eligibility Criteria Complexity

Verifying eligibility criteria for each application added layers of complexity to the process, demanding meticulous attention to detail.

Tedious Fellows Progress Monitoring

Manual tracking of the progress of Fellows spanning 3 to 5 years resulted in management difficulties and challenges in fund disbursement, particularly in handling revisions and occasional errors.

Iterative Communication

Communication at various stages of application, review, acceptance, and fund disbursement required frequent exchanges, leading to iterative communication challenges.

Data Management and Analysis Hurdles

The manual approach to handling fellowship programs hindered efficient data collection and analysis, limiting the organization’s ability to track crucial metrics and assess program success.

Alumni Engagement Challenge

Post-program completion, the absence of a structured alumni connection system limited visibility. Hindering the establishment of a robust alumni network impacting mentorship, collaboration, and showcasing of success stories.

Solution

RQ Fellowships introduced a centralized platform, streamlining application processes, review, and post-selection support, addressing manual challenges and fostering efficient management across all fellowship stages.

Streamlined Eligibility Checks

With automated eligibility checks built into the application, Applicants could not proceed with the completion if they didn’t meet the set criteria, ensuring that only relevant and eligible candidates could progress.

EOS Tracking with RQ SmartTracker

Utilizing the RQ SmartTracker module, an EOS (End-of-Semester) module for MFP was added. This allowed selected Fellows to submit necessary follow-up documents, streamlining semester progress reviews for administrators. Automated notifications upon completion ensured timely oversight, eliminating the need for manual tracking.

Easy, Multi-Phase Review Process

Review of applications was simplified with a side-by-side view, integrated reference letters, uploaded content, and a scoresheet based on program review rubrics.

Automated Email Scheduler

Automated reminder emails were pre-scheduled to recommenders and applicants, improving communication and deadline adherence, and reducing overhead of administrators.

Integrated Reporting Tools

The integrated reporting tools in RQ Fellowship allowed MFP to dive deeper into demographics, locations, age groups, and the number of draft and final applications. This detailed breakdown provided invaluable insights, enabling a thorough understanding of applicant characteristics and application stages within their Fellowship programs.

Alumni Directory

Utilized RQ alumni directory to effortlessly track fellows, offering a streamlined platform for them to update contact information, share career milestones, publications, and foster collaboration with fellow alumni.

Targeted Marketing Outreach

Implemented targeted outreach strategies by leveraging online advertising, social media and email marketing. Learn more on How Targeted Outreach Strategies Contributed to the Growth of the SAMHSA Minority Fellowship.

Results

Increased Number of Applications

152% and 61% increase in the number of Master’s and Doctoral applications respectively with intuitive online forms.

Decrease in Ineligible Submissions

30% decrease in ineligible submissions by including eligibility checks in online forms.

Improved Reviewer Efficiency

Customized review interface boosted Reviewer efficiency by X, with an average engagement time of X.

Improved Fellowship Progress Monitoring

The RQ SmartTracker™ ensured precise fellowship progress monitoring and communications to Fellows. This was also easier for Fellows to have a central hub to submit required follow-up information.

Automated Email Scheduler

Automated reminders enhanced communication, reducing response time and improving the number of complete applications. Email Scheduler helped bring 125 applicants back to the application form.

Integrated Reporting Tools

Reporting tools provided actionable insights for strategic decision-making.

Increased Engagement

Utilizing the RQ Alumni Directory facilitated ongoing engagement of Alumni.

SAMUEL S.
Program Manager, SAMHSA MFP/ANA

RQ Features Used

Customized Home Page

Custom Form with Logic

Multi-Phased Reviews

Custom Reports

Email Scheduler

Follow-up Tracking

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