Although there is a cadre of experienced investigators in Puerto Rico who have made significant contributions to the field of HIV/AIDS, we believe that the research workforce needs to be sustained, diversified and further prepared to be able to respond to the challenges faced by people living with HIV. We propose to continue and expand the University of Puerto Rico Mentoring Institute for HIV and Mental Health Research (MI-HMHR) scope of work. The MI-HMHR is currently responsible for providing services and promoting training and developmental initiatives to support a cadre of HIV/AIDS junior investigators. It is also responsible for guaranteeing that there is a well-trained and interested group of researchers in the pipeline in order to sustain and advance knowledge to respond to the complexities of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This Institute is mainly concerned with providing adequate support to the research workforce, from a developmental perspective. During the past three years it has sponsored talented researchers from four participating universities- University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus, Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine, Ponce School of Medicine, and Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy. It provides the adequate context and resources for their development into independent researchers by offering group and individually tailored support and mentoring. We propose to use the following strategies in the renewal cycle: (1) a mentoring program to establish successful relationships between 22 junior researchers and senior researchers, (2) trainings for the development of research competencies and the exploration of new methods and perspectives, (3) pilot funding (to implement a project and enhance productivity of junior investigators), and (4) a "mentor the mentors" program. The activities proposed under each component will benefit from the lessons learned during the past three years. We believe that these components are key for the comprehensive development of an investigator. They complement each other in facilitating core and cross-cutting skills and competences needed to pursue and sustain a successful research career. Each component will be evaluated to assess its process, outcomes and effectiveness.
Research is needed to increase the understanding of how to make substantial reduction in the HIV/AIDS. This project will train a group of minority researchers so that they can explore the multiple factors that affect the people living with HIV and their quality of life. It also aims to promote research that could be used to understand how to reduce the number of people getting infected.
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