The Summer HIV/AIDS Research Program (SHARP) at the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) is designed to inspire undergraduates to join a community of scientists dedicated to substance use and HIV research. The proposed program, grounded in Social Cognitive Career Theory, aims to engage individuals from underrepresented minority backgrounds (URM) in science to prepare them for graduate school, and ultimately, choose substance use-focused research careers. Growing the pipeline of URM investigators is critical to: 1) gain new insights into important research questions and approaches; 2) gather input into culturally relevant interventions; 3: succeed in engaging affected communities in all aspects of study design, implementation and participation; and 4) guide the format and content to disseminate study results. SHARP will build on a highly successful undergraduate mentored research program launched in 2012 that integrates research, mentoring, training, shadowing, and networking opportunities. SHARP scholars will be recruited from local Bay Area colleges and universities, Historic Black Colleges and Universities, and through widely disseminated Internet postings. The 12-week summer program will select six scholars each year. SHARP scholars will conduct a substance-use focused research project, aligned with National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) scientific priorities, under the close supervision of SHARP mentor teams comprised of senior and junior investigators. Scholars will participate in weekly seminars and eLearning covering research methods, state-of-the-science substance use and HIV topics, the responsible conduct of research, and professional skills, including manuscript writing. They will have the opportunity to shadow research staff as well as clinical and community providers; and attend community consultations on research. Throughout the program, scholars will receive faculty and peer mentorship and be linked to a cadre of career mentors from NIDA-supported URM investigators at the University of California, San Francisco, and other academic institutions across the country. The summer will culminate in a SHARP Research Symposium where scholars will present their research findings. To retain interest over time, alumni will be asked to mentor incoming scholars and the program will organize online social networking, an e-newsletter, webinars, and work-in- progress sessions. Online content will be made available to current scholars and alumni through a dedicated SHARP web portal. Moreover, alumni will be encouraged to submit abstracts for presentation at local and national conferences and prepare manuscripts for peer review. The SFDPH offers a rich research environment and suitable physical and administrative infrastructure to host this multicomponent program that is poised to attract the next generation of substance use and HIV researchers.

Public Health Relevance

There are an estimated 37 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. The goal of this program is to create a compelling summer research experience for undergraduates from underrepresented backgrounds in science motivating them to pursue further graduate training so they can become the next generation of investigators to study the impact of substance use on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, what many consider to be the defining health challenge of our era.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDA1)
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Cotto, Jessica
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Public Health Foundation Enterprises
City of Industry
United States
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Turner, Caitlin; Chandrakumar, Dharsan; Rowe, Christopher et al. (2018) Cross-sectional cause of death comparisons for stimulant and opioid mortality in San Francisco, 2005-2015. Drug Alcohol Depend 185:305-312