With the requested Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research (K24), I plan to (a) mentor a multi-disciplinary and socio-demographically diverse group of graduate students and early career investigators in behavioral aspects of global HIV research and (b) expand my own capabilities to conduct research on international online HIV interventions. I have been consistently productive and successful in obtaining funding for my program of patient-oriented research. Moreover, I have a long history of supporting mentees and helping them secure their own funding, with several currently holding K23 and other awards. However, teaching, clinical, and administrative obligations have limited the time I can commit to mentoring. The award will allow me to further devote my time and resources to mentoring (from 5% to 25% effort for mentoring and 25% for career development and research). Moreover, it would move me closer to my longer term goals of becoming an internationally recognized leader in global HIV and mental health research and developing more systematic and formalized mentoring programs both at the University of Washington and at the national level. The University of Washington (the top-funded public institution in the country) and the Clinical Area in the Department of Psychology (currently ranked #1) provide excellent environments for this award. At the UW, there is a large pool of diverse and well qualified mentees, for whom I have outlined specific plans for selecting, mentoring, and involving in my own active ongoing program of research. Plans include continuing and formalizing individual- and group-based support for a cohort of diverse graduate students from across campus as well as physicians, nurses, and behavioral scientists at the junior faculty level. This support will be integrated with ongoing programs at the College level and through the Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS) and the School of Medicine. A diverse group of collaborators--senior mentors who are esteemed and established researchers in their respective fields--have committed their support to this award. My career development activities will involve intensive training in online technologies for intervention research, language development, and mentorship/leadership training. Planned activities capitalize on existing resources at the UW, including my involvement in an ongoing R25-funded training program for Native American scientists, the Center for AIDS Research's Sociobehavioral and Prevention Core, and ITHS. The newly proposed research involves a 4-phase study of an online counseling intervention targeting men and women newly diagnosed with HIV in Beijing, China. This comprises qualitative formative work, a cross-sectional survey, development of a multi-modular online intervention with social networking capabilities, and a pilot randomized controlled trial of the intervention.
This award will assist in increasing the availability of a diverse group of researchers successfully studying behavioral aspects of HIV, which is crucial to combating this global pandemic. Additionally, it will assist in the career development of a mid-career investigator who aims to develop an online program to assist individuals struggling with a new HIV diagnosis in settings where access to mental health counseling is limited.
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