The current application, in response to RFA-MH-10-050, proposes to develop and pilot a web-based interactive national mentoring network to prepare qualified doctoral-level junior scientists from diverse backgrounds (including those from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, those from low-income families or setfings, and/or those with disabilifies) for research independence in the area HIV/AIDS behavioral research in resource-poor countries. The overarching objective of this proposed national mentoring network is to increase the number and capacity of junior scientists from diverse backgrounds to conduct scientifically innovative, culturally appropriate and methodologically rigorous theory-based behavioral research in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care in resource-poor countries. Our immediate objective (within this planning phase) is to develop an innovative prototype of a nafional network that is based on catalytic capacity building models using novel communication technology and will help early career proteges (post-doctoral, post-residence fellows or assistant professors) from diverse backgrounds to launch independent behavioral AIDS research in a resource-poor setting and become competitive for new research project grant funding. These objectives will be achieved through four specific aims: 1) Establish an effecfive leadership, administrative, and operational structure for the proposed nehwork based on the experiences and principles of existing successful mentoring programs;2) Develop a network protocol including novel communication technologies and established mentoring approaches that encourages and facilitates a productive and sustainable mentorship between proteges and nehwork mentors, home insfitution mentors, and peer proteges through one-on-one mentoring, group mentoring, and contextual mentoring;3) Develop and test the feasibility and effectiveness of different strategies for recruiting and matching qualified mentors and proteges to the network and retaining both mentors and proteges as on-going network members;and 4) Pilot-test and evaluate the effectiveness ofthe network protocol using both process and outcome evaluation. Each protege will be expected to submit a competitive extramural research grant at the end of the formal mentoring program.
The proposed network will significantly and positively impact the field of AIDS research by addressing scientific domains/themes related to cultural competence of HIV/AIDS research in resource-poor countries and building a supportive scientific network on a national basis for eariy career proteges from diverse backgrounds who are dedicated to developing and sustaining research careers in HI/AIDS. Our proposed network will serve as a resource forthe countrv in its efforts to increase diversitv ofthe research workforce in HIV/AIDS research.