AIDS behavioral research has benefited from the contributions of psychology and there is a need for training psychologists committed to AIDS research. The University of Connecticut pre-doctoral training program integrates five core areas of psychological studies with state of the art AIDS behavioral research. During the start-up phase of the training program, we met all of our training objectives, including enrolling and retaining 50% ethnic and racial minority trainees. In the next funding period, we will continue to recruit and train pre-doctoral students in social processes of AIDS theories, research methods and applications. The objectives of the 4-year training period are to: (1) Train doctoral candidates in an integrated model of HIV/AIDS and basic social behavioral research through a structured program and dual mentorship;(2) Provide trainees with community field research skills relevant to conducting community-based HIV/AIDS behavioral studies;(3) Facilitate innovative research ideas in three core areas of HIV/AIDS behavioral research; (4) Have trainees complete a field research project in collaboration with AIDS service providers;(5) Provide trainees with skills and experience in publication and grant writing. All trainees in the program are dually mentored in AIDS behavioral sciences by faculty dedicated to AIDS research and faculty from one of five core-related areas: (a) interpersonal relationships, couples, and other dyadic processes;(b) social cognition and intergroup relations;(c) social stigma and serving disenfranchised communities;(d) health behavior interventions;and (e) family and adolescent relations. Blending HIV/AIDS behavioral studies with core theoretical research yields new and innovative approaches to addressing some of the most compelling contemporary challenges related to AIDS intervention and prevention. We are forging new avenues in dyadic processes of HIV risks and relationships, social aspects of poverty and disparities among people at risk as well as those living with HIV/AIDS, and social processes related to AIDS stigma. Trainees are supported for 4 years and complete extensive training in research design, quantitative methods, substantive courses from different general areas of psychology and courses from related disciplines including public health, sociology, anthropology, etc. Program trainees are expected to make research presentations at national conferences, publish original research, and learn grant writing skills. The program also centers on training in community-based field research which includes a services oriented research experience. Trainees work with community based AIDS service organizations to conduct a field study that serves as a rich training experience and directly benefits the community as well as our students.
The University of Connecticut pre-doctoral Social Processes of AIDS Training Program integrates AIDS theories, methods and applications with five core areas of research:(a) interpersonal relationships, couples, and other dyadic processes;(b) social cognition and intergroup relations;(c) social stigma and serving disenfranchised communities;(d) health behavior interventions;and (e) family and adolescent relations. Blending HIV/AIDS behavioral studies with core theoretical research areas leads to new approaches to addressing some of the most compelling contemporary challenges related to AIDS intervention and prevention.
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