This R25 proposal responds to PAR-11-002, which aims to increase the number of highly-trained multidisciplinary HIV scientists from groups underrepresented among NIH Principal Investigators (PIs). It focuses on increasing the number of NIH funded new HIV investigators from underrepresented groups and train them to conduct dissemination and implementation (D&I) research that addresses HIV and co- morbid mental health disorders. This grant proposes to renew support for the PIs'successful NIMH R25 training program: the HIV Intervention Science Training Program for Underrepresented New Investigators (HISTP). The training program employs a multidisciplinary set of training activities and a number of dedicated, interdisciplinary mentors who will work with junior investigators from underrepresented groups recruited from Columbia University (CU) and other universities around the U.S. The proposed renewal continues and extends past innovations as well as shifts the focus to an important research area that has been neglected in the HIV field and that has been highlighted as a top priority by NIH. There is an urgent need to increase D&I research to ensure that effective HIV prevention interventions are delivered to the communities that need them;a new generation of HIV researchers needs to be trained to conduct such research to make a major impact in reducing new HIV infections, particularly among communities of color. This application is also responsive to the President's National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the U.S., which states the need for the intensification of HIV prevention efforts in areas marked by high HIV prevalence, utilization of a combination of effective, science-based approaches, and implementation of community- level interventions that target HIV prevention and other social service needs. These strategies are suggested to meet the goals of reducing new HIV infections and HIV-related health disparities and co- morbidities and ensure the training of research scientists to deliver evidenced-based HIV prevention interventions to communities in an expeditious manner. The HISTP will enroll 16 promising new investigators from underrepresented groups, 2 mentors for each new investigator, and includes a multidisciplinary Scientific Advisory Board. The program will be led by Drs. Nabila El-Bassel and Elwin Wu (as Multiple PIs) from Columbia University School of Social Work. They have synergistic expertise from working closely together on the implementation of the recently completed NIMH R25 as well as several NIH-funded research studies. The grant will include a number of senior HIV and mental health researchers from CU and across the county who will serve as mentors as well as on the Scientific Advisory Board.
The proposed training program seeks to expand the pool of highly-trained, multidisciplinary HIV scientists from groups that are underrepresented among NIH Principal Investigators (PIs). Via an innovative gamut of multidisciplinary training activities and a number of dedicated, interdisciplinary mentors, the training program will facilitate the growth and development of a new cadre of researchers from underrepresented groups who will conduct dissemination and implementation research on interventions targeting HIV and co-morbid mental health issues to ensure that effective prevention and treatment programs reach underserved HIV vulnerable populations.
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