In 2004, the Centers for Disease Control reported that AIDS was the leading cause of death for African- American women between the ages of 25 to 34 and African-American men between the ages of 35 to 44 in the United States. Researchers have explained these ethnic/racial disparities in terms of delays in accessing care and difficulties in adhering to medication regimens. These findings suggest that culturally appropriate interventions developed to reduce HIV/AIDS stigma could help improve treatment adherence and in turn, improve health outcomes for African-Americans living with HIV/AIDS. It is the career aspiration of Dr. Rao, applicant for this Patient Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23), to help lessen the burden of stigma associated with HIV/AIDS in vulnerable populations. In this proposal, Dr. Rao outlines a career development plan that will lead to a line of work aimed at making available an effective, culturally- appropriate intervention to reduce self stigma for African-Americans living with HIV/AIDS. Through coursework and mentorship, Dr. Rao will train in culturally-specific models of health beliefs and advanced qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. She will implement a research project that will adapt a self stigma reduction intervention for African-Americans living with HIV. In addition, she will adapt and validate an outcome measure of self stigma for use in a future clinical trial. These adaptations will lead to a pilot test and then directly to a full-scale clinical trial of the intervention. Drs. David Cella and Patrick Corrigan, senior investigators with extensive experience in behavioral interventions and patient reported outcomes measurement, will serve as co-sponsors for this project. The clinical site for this project, the outpatient HIV Clinic at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, serves a patient population with much ethnic/racial and gender diversity, and its patients enthusiastically participate in clinical research. During the award period, Dr. Rao will be based at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare and have faculty appointments at Northwestern University. Her location at these institutions, with their outstanding reputation in research and education, will provide her with an outstanding environment, rich with the research resources she will need to become an independent investigator. Dr. Rao will be uniquely positioned to carry out this work aimed at reducing HIV stigma, and subsequently improving health outcomes, for African-Americans living with HIV.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
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Study Section
Behavioral and Social Consequences of HIV/AIDS Study Section (BSCH)
Program Officer
Grossman, Cynthia I
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University of Washington
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Rao, Deepa; Molina, Yamile; Lambert, Nina et al. (2016) Assessing Stigma among African Americans Living with HIV. Stigma Health 1:146-155
Singleton, Judith L; Raunig, Manuela; Brunsteter, Halley et al. (2015) Identity, Physical Space, and Stigma Among African American Men Living with HIV in Chicago and Seattle. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities 2:548-55
Butt, Zeeshan; Lai, Jin-Shei; Rao, Deepa et al. (2013) Measurement of fatigue in cancer, stroke, and HIV using the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy - Fatigue (FACIT-F) scale. J Psychosom Res 74:64-8
Jeyaseelan, L; Kumar, Shuba; Mohanraj, Rani et al. (2013) Assessing HIV/AIDS stigma in south India: validation and abridgement of the Berger HIV Stigma scale. AIDS Behav 17:434-43
Molina, Yamile; Choi, Seung W; Cella, David et al. (2013) The stigma scale for chronic illnesses 8-item version (SSCI-8): development, validation and use across neurological conditions. Int J Behav Med 20:450-60
Rao, Deepa; Feldman, Betsy J; Fredericksen, Rob J et al. (2012) A structural equation model of HIV-related stigma, depressive symptoms, and medication adherence. AIDS Behav 16:711-6
Rao, Deepa; Horton, Randall; Raguram, R (2012) Gender inequality and structural violence among depressed women in South India. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 47:1967-75
Rao, Deepa; Desmond, Michelle; Andrasik, Michele et al. (2012) Feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of the unity workshop: an internalized stigma reduction intervention for African American women living with HIV. AIDS Patient Care STDS 26:614-20
Rao, D; Chen, W T; Pearson, C R et al. (2012) Social support mediates the relationship between HIV stigma and depression/quality of life among people living with HIV in Beijing, China. Int J STD AIDS 23:481-4
Corrigan, Patrick W; Rao, Deepa (2012) On the self-stigma of mental illness: stages, disclosure, and strategies for change. Can J Psychiatry 57:464-9

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