This proposal aims to: establish a long-term mentoring program that will attract (6) junior faculty and graduate students from the academic programs or professional schools in PR into HIV and Mental Health Research. These are: the University of Puerto Rico (several Campuses and Centers), the Ponce School of Medicine (including the Clinical Psychology program) and the Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine;to encourage and facilitate the development of their career plans with the specific goal of HIV and Mental Health Research and the eventual application for NIH funding and to focus the research and educational activities on HIV and Health Disparities related to Mental Health as the overarching theme of the Institute. The need for collaborative research justifies targeting the development and diversification of the Mental Health and Drug Abuse HIV/AIDS research workforce as is the title of this PAR. The focus of this Institute will be in precisely the establishment of multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary teams and collaborations. There is a need to create a culture of collaboration and this mentorship institute through its PI and key personnel will make sure that the process is ongoing. The Institute's research-education mentoring program is based on a competency development model. Mentors are expected to offer their scholarly, analytic and unique expertise in order to enable, empower, and inspire the participants in the acquisition of the core and cross-cutting competencies. Six core areas of competencies have been identified as essential to pursue a systematic and integrated approach to research. These are conceptualization, research design, implementation, analysis, dissemination, and expansion. All the participants, independently of the stage of their research development, need to be exposed continuously to cross-cutting knowledge and skills. They should acquire new knowledge related to HIV, mental health, and health disparities. They should develop skills to address issues in an ethical and culturally competent way;to collaborate in interdisciplinary teams;and to become a leader and accept responsibility in reducing HIV health disparities related to mental health.
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