In 2007, we received a Fogarty ICOHRTA grant award to launch an HIV and tuberculosis research training program at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH). In 2014, our current ?PARACAS? (Program for Advanced ReseArch Capacities for AIDS in Peru) allowed us to further integrate HIV research into the culture of UPCH and mature collaborations with the University of Washington (UW) and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Through closely mentored research, along selected course work, outstanding young and mid-career health researchers are reaching the scientific proficiency and leadership that will allow them to jointly address emerging HIV challenges. In alignment with research priorities of the NIH, the Peruvian Ministry of Health and UNAIDS targets, this renewal application for our PARACAS strengthens the focus upon implementation science to improve HIV retention in care, expanding efforts towards the care of maternal HIV and elimination of pediatric HIV. In the context of high-quality mentoring, we aim to: 1) stimulate the critical research career development and scientific production of selected top candidates through masters (3), doctoral (2) and postdoctoral (2) scholarships; 2) consolidate as a hub for early entry of promising medical undergraduates (8) into long- term advanced HIV research training; and 3) to influence on policy change for HIV care by enhancing knowledge brokering with government stakeholders. The essence of our PARACAS? research training program - transformative, collaborative learning - leverages its impact beyond the benefits to individual trainees. To stimulate and boost long-term careers in HIV research, this renewal application (a) integrates competitive coursework at collaborating US institutions with implementation of research in Peru under co-mentoring of US and Peruvian PARACAS faculty (long-term ?sandwich? training), with (b) practical mentored research electives. These training efforts will be complemented by mentorship training through the Global Health Fellows Program and novel long-term research-career grants for candidates with doctoral degrees obtained abroad recently launched by the Peruvian Government. Even if our trainee selection process will continue to target candidates with high potential to succeed in research, we will reinforce the individualized mentoring and flexibility of training formats that benefit recruitment, performance and retention of trainees underrepresented in science, particularly women. By this time substantially enriched with alumni of the prior ICOHRTA and PARACAS grants who are established within UPCH and the Peruvian Ministry of Health, our PARACAS renewal offers the extensive mentoring capacities and breadth of faculty expertise, continued access to a vibrant, talent pool of new Peruvian trainees, to effectively contribute to the goal of achieving an AIDS-free generation.

Public Health Relevance

Our Program for Advanced ReseArch Capacities for AIDS in Peru (PARACAS) plans to expand its current focus of providing long term, sustainable care to people living with HIV/AIDS and actively contribute to eliminating pediatric HIV in Peru. PARACAS will reinforce the doctoral-level Implementation Science mentored-research training for outstanding young and mid-career health researchers; this will allow them to design and test effective interventions tailored to the health context. Our PARACAS renewal should consolidate the proficient and passionate HIV scientific workforce in Peru that is needed to reach an AIDS free generation.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Fogarty International Center (FIC)
International Research Training Grants (D43)
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Bansal, Geetha Parthasarathy
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Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia
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Ramírez, Suzanne; Mejía, Fernando; Rojas, Marlene et al. (2018) HIV screening among newly diagnosed TB patients: a cross sectional study in Lima, Peru. BMC Infect Dis 18:136
Prochazka, Mateo; Otero, Larissa; Konda, Kelika A et al. (2018) Patient-nominated supporters as facilitators for engagement in HIV care in a referral hospital in Peru: A retrospective cohort study. PLoS One 13:e0195389
Vasquez, Ana L; Errea, Renato A; Hoces, Daniel et al. (2017) Missed opportunities for HIV control: Gaps in HIV testing for partners of people living with HIV in Lima, Peru. PLoS One 12:e0181412
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