Effective HIV prevention interventions require the integrated analysis of behavioral, biological, and social transmission patterns in specific cultural contexts. The South American Program in HIV Prevention Research (SAPHIR) program builds on existing training programs at the UCLA Program in Global Health to offer developing investigators from the U.S. an intensive, structured program of education and practical research training on comprehensive HIV prevention in an international environment.
Specific Aim 1. To provide developing researchers from the U.S. with a structured program of education and training based on a focused research topic within the field of HIV prevention in Latin America. SAPHIR program trainees are paired with research mentors from the U.S. and Latin America to develop an independent research program incorporating both secondary analysis of existing data and design of an original research study protocol. Potential research topics include behavioral, epidemiological, clinical and laboratory issues related to HIV prevention within specific Latin American contexts.
Specific Aim 2. To provide a program of didactic instruction and interactive seminars addressing integrated approaches to HIV prevention in international settings. The training program includes a weekly series of lectures and seminars on key areas of global HIV prevention, including lectures, journal clubs, research presentations, and ethics case conferences. The conceptual framework for the educational program is based on the intersection of scientific disciplines in comprehensive HIV prevention.
Specific Aim 3. To build the capacity of a collaborative network of international investigators and research centers with individual areas of scientific expertise to produce integrated approaches to HIV prevention research in Latin America. In addition to practical training for young investigators, a secondary aim of the program is to promote inter-institutional collaboration and capacity-building for participating research centers. Graduates of the program will accomplish the following goals: 1) Acquire a foundation of knowledge in the four core areas of comprehensive HIV prevention (epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention); 2) Complete a secondary data analysis and prepare a corresponding abstract for submission to an international scientific conference; 3) Design an independent research sub-study; 4) Prepare a study protocol that meets requirements for the ethical conduct of research with human subjects as defined by the UCLA Committee for the Protection of Human Research Subjects; 5) Submit a funding proposal for peer review and receive a written summary statement; and 6) Present results of their research in a local community venue and at an annual conference of program trainees and mentors. All SAPHIR graduates will acquire the exposure, skills, and practical experience necessary to gain admission to competitive post-doctoral training programs and to build an academic career in international HIV prevention research.
The newest generation of physician scholars recognizes the need for global approaches to HIV prevention but lacks structured opportunities for research training in international sites. A dedicated program of education and practical training in international HIV prevention studies will fill an important deficit in AIDS research.
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