Building Teams for Multidisciplinary Collaborations

This year, project teams from the Teaming and Scaling categories share their experiences with the Pitt Momentum Funds program through a series of videos to not only showcase their awarded projects and raise visibility, but to also share insights into the program for future applicants. Each year project teams form to develop a research proposal and approach to assembling a team across fields and schools, and ultimately, how the research performed can benefit society.


Register for Fueling our Future: The Fourth Internal Funding Showcase

Each fall faculty, staff and students gather to celebrate and learn from the grant recipients of the Pitt Momentum Funds in-person in Oakland with a panel discussion with program awardees, followed by a poster session with light refreshments for all winning research projects. 
RSVP for the 2023 Internal Funding Showcase here >> 

The next application cycle for Pitt Momentum Funds opens Tuesday, September 5, 2023. Information sessions are scheduled for interested faculty on September 11 and September 12 to cover this year’s requirements, discuss the program overview and ask questions.


Team #1: Examining Psychosocial Correlates of Loneliness and Perceived Isolation Among Marginalized Youth 

Fields: Medicine, Public Health, Education, Arts & Sciences


Youth in marginalized groups face bullying and discrimination that contributes to feelings of loneliness in everyday life, whether on the playground or in the classroom. Team lead Cesar Escobar-Viera, assistant professor of psychiatry in the School of Medicine and behavioral and community health sciences in the School of Public Health, rallied the largest team of this year’s top winners and made partnerships with local nonprofits working with these youth in the region.

This project takes a community-engaged approach to sourcing data and will develop resources and insights by analyzing social media data and partnering with these nonprofit organizations:


Team #2: Linking University-Community Initiatives to Promote a Child's Thriving Pipeline Across Early Developmental Stages 

Fields: Education, Social Work, Arts & Sciences 

As core components of The Pittsburgh Study, this team will link three distinct programs that support child thriving (0-4, 5-8, and 9-11-yeal-olds) creating aligned on-ramps for interventions and community programming at key developmental milestones in early childhood. Through this Momentum Funds award, the team is working to create an equitable ecosystem for kids across the development spectrum and enhances the team’s ability to build a prevention pipeline strategically across programs. Team lead Shannon Wanless, director of the office of childhood development, believes their approach will help situate Pitt as a national leader in university-community partnerships for child thriving.


Team #3: Testing the Effectiveness of Faculty as Facilitators of Psychosocial Resilience Interventions for Students in Professional and Graduate Programs 

Fields: Law, Learning Research and Development Center 

Adjusting to a new school or program means more than completing homework, forming study groups and taking exams. For many law students, it’s a difficult adjustment, but throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, more support, resources and proactive measures were needed to ensure students acclimated and completed their program. Team lead Ann Sinsheimer, associate dean of equity and inclusive excellence, pulled inspiration from her own time in law school to develop interventions and resources for students in her legal writing class. With help from motivational psychologist Omid Fotuhi, research scientist in the Learning Research and Development Center, the project places mental health and well-being as the primary focus and catalyst for helping law students feel like they belong in the program and the field. 

This is a Year of Emotional Well-Being project.


Team #4: Supporting Mental and Physical Wellbeing in Autistic Adults through Community-Based Mindful Movement 

Fields: Medicine, Education

Vinyasa yoga is a style of yoga that incorporates movement between poses for strengthening muscles, improving blood flow, and boosting mood. Rachel Robertson’s project, Supporting Wellbeing with Autism through Yoga (SWAY), is all about accessibility and supporting autistic adults’ mental, emotional, and physical health. Autistic adults, who often engage in less physical activity than non-autistic adults, have a place to move mindfully with community partner Open Up, a nonprofit that provides community yoga and movement classes in an accessible environment at no cost to participants. Community classes held specifically for this effort will be evaluated for their effectiveness in the participants in their mindfulness journey. Robertson and several team members are both long-time practitioners and teachers of yoga.

This is a Year of Emotional Well-Being project.