Cyber Mentors: A Training Program for HIV/AIDS Researchers Working on Health Disparities is an innovative research mentorship program designed to prepare researchers who have not yet received R01 level funding, and who are either from underrepresented groups and/or are interested in HIV/AIDS research with racial and ethnic groups that are overrepresented with HIV/AIDS, to develop successful independent careers in HIV/AIDS research. Three cohorts of 15 mentee/mentor pairs will participate in the two-year mentorship program over the course of three years. The Cyber Mentors program will match mentees with volunteer mentors who are leaders in the field of HIV/AIDS research and who have a track record of receiving NIH-supported R01 grants. One-on-one mentoring, which will take place via phone, email, and face-to-face meetings, will have two general goals: 1) developing and implementing a career development plan focused on building the strengths of the mentee to conduct independent research, and 2) developing and submitting a high quality research funding application to NIH. Mentee/mentor pairs will be provided with up to $5,000 to support research or career development activities (e.g., preliminary data collection, attending conferences and workshops, purchasing needed research hardware and software etc.). In addition to one-on-one mentoring, mentees will participate in a sequenced series of monthly online career development seminars and quarterly online small group discussions. Monthly webinars will cover various research, methodology, and administrative topics relevant to research careers. During quarterly small group discussions, mentees will apply concepts learned during webinars to the development of their own proposals and they receive feedback on specific sections of their applications from a variety of program mentors. Mentees will participate in at least one full-scale mock review in which their grant application will be reviewe and scored by outside experts. Written feedback will be offered by reviewers with emphasis placed on recommendations for improvement. Mentees will then revise their applications in response to the mock review feedback before submitting finalized proposals to funding agencies. By the end of the two-year mentorship period, Cyber Mentors Program mentees will: (1) develop and implement a career development plan which will include six-month goals to address relative weaknesses identified during a formalized self-assessment process;(2) periodically revise six-month goals in a thoughtfully sequenced way that improves their chances of becoming an independent HIV/AIDS researcher who is competitive for obtaining grant funding;(3) identify specific funding mechanisms to support their research interests;(4) establish workable routines for writing and submitting articles to peer-reviewed journals;(5) develop networks of peers and other professionals that can be accessed for consultation;(6) draft high-quality research proposals in the area of HIV/AIDS and racial and ethnic groups that are overrepresented with HIV/AIDS;and, (7) submit their proposals to targeted NIH funding mechanisms.
A Training Program for HIV/AIDS Researchers Working on Health Disparities is an innovative research mentorship program designed to prepare promising researchers who have not yet received R01 level funding, and who are either from underrepresented racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic groups and/or are interested in HIV/AIDS research with racial and ethnic groups that are overrepresented with HIV/AIDS, to develop successful independent careers in HIV/AIDS research. The long-term impact of the program will be increased understanding of how to prevent HIV/AIDS, especially in racial and ethnic groups overrepresented with HIV/AIDS.