Recently, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has highlighted the need to increase the number of minority research scientists, as there exists a dearth of federally funded minority investigators in the United States. African Americans, Hispanics and American Indians, who collectively comprise 24% of the U.S. population, submitted only 5.2% of all applications to NIMH, resulting in only 3.9% of funded applicants. This disparity in the submission and funding of grants by African Americans and Latinos in particular is also reflected in funding patterns by NIH Institutes and Centers. The need to develop research mentoring programs for postdoctoral fellows and early career faculty to improve the capacity for high quality culturally congruent research in HIV/AIDS, mental health, substance abuse, and their associated disparities has been recognized. The overrepresentation of racial and ethnic minority (REM) individuals living with HIV/AIDS and suffering from mental illness and substance abuse in the United States but especially in Southern California, and an under-representation of REM researchers in these areas has been clearly documented and needs to be addressed. This proposed R25 training grant, the UCLA REM HIV/AIDS Translational Training (HATT) Program, will develop a research mentorship program for REM investigators interested in studying HIV/AIDS, mental health and substance abuse and associated co-morbid disparities. This program will also establish a summer institute with a network of senior mentors who are experts in the field of behavioral, basic, and clinical research of HIV/AIDS, mental health and substance abuse. With significant support from the UCLA Center for Culture, Trauma and Mental Health Disparities (CCTMHD), The Center for HIV Identification, Prevention and Treatment Services (CHIPTS) and the UCLA AIDS Institute and others, 8 postdoctoral fellows and junior investigators will receive state-of-the-art training over two years. These REM investigators will also promote interdisciplinary research that examines and elucidates the behavioral, biological, and psychological factors associated with HIV/AIDS, mental health, substance abuse and their associated disparities among racial and ethnic minorities. The UCLA Steering Committee, along with the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), will conduct a national application process to select post-doctoral and early career research candidates. Research mentoring will include: (1) a six-week summer institute composed of didactic lectures and individualized mentoring and consultation and;(2) ongoing long-term onsite research mentoring and mentoring via webcast telecommunication to guide and monitor progress toward research goals. The Steering Committee, SAC members, mentors, national consultants and REM investigators will evaluate the training program twice each year. Long-term research career follow-up will also be conducted to ensure that REM Investigators mentor others to extend the training into a second generation of NIH researchers.
There exists a great shortage of federally funded minority investigators in the United Stats who conduct HIV/AIDS, mental health and substance abuse research. Conversely, there is an overrepresentation of racial and ethnic minority (REM) individuals living with or affected by these diseases. This proposed R25 training grant entitled, the UCLA REM HIV/AIDS Translational Training (HATT) Program will develop a two year research mentorship program for REM investigators interested in studying HIV/AIDS, mental health and substance abuse and their associated co-morbid disparities.
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