The purpose of this K24 mid-career investigator award is to support Dr. Bassett?s mentoring activities and patient-oriented research to improve engagement in HIV care and related conditions globally. Dr. Bassett is a practicing Infectious Disease physician with over 14 years of experience leading clinical research in South Africa related to HIV and TB screening and treatment, for which she received the HIV Medicine Association Research Award in 2015. She has served as a mentor to 15 young investigators, four of whom are currently supported by K awards. Dr. Bassett is deeply committed to continuing and further expanding her mentorship to include trainees from outside of Infectious Disease and those based in sub-Saharan Africa. She has assembled a multi-disciplinary team of advisors who can support her and her trainees? career development. Dr. Bassett is the Director of the Harvard Center for AIDS Research Developmental Core and its Mentoring Programs, and directs a mock K grant review session three times yearly as well as a grant-writing workshop for the Harvard community. She won the Harvard Medical School Young Mentor Award in 2013 in recognition of her mentoring activities. She proposes an inter-related set of training, mentoring and research objectives that expand the scope of her research into new areas (e.g. HIV prevention, community-based treatment for HIV- associated non-communicable diseases). This K24 would provide Dr. Bassett with: 1) protected time for mentoring early career investigators dedicated to patient-oriented HIV research, including those based in sub- Saharan Africa, 2) a platform for mid-career professional development in mixed methods, implementation science approaches, and expanded mentorship and international partnerships, and 3) an opportunity for new data collection to inform her mentees? and her own future research programs. Dr. Bassett will leverage her collaborations and partnerships in Umlazi Township, Durban, South Africa, a community with a high HIV burden and one of the highest HIV incidences among young women in the world. The overall goal of the proposed research is to develop innovative, community-based research that addresses fundamental questions about how to improve uptake of HIV prevention and long-term ART provision, as well as how to integrate other critical health needs such as diabetes management and contraception into HIV programs. The proposed high- impact research has direct and immediate application in a high-risk South African township and will support the protected time and resources required for Dr. Bassett to mentor young investigators from both the US and sub- Saharan Africa in patient-oriented research.
While sub-Saharan African countries have made great strides in creating successful national HIV care programs, rigorous research is needed to evaluate how best to incorporate HIV prevention, HIV treatment, and HIV-related non-communicable disease care into community-based settings. Dr. Bassett has a long and successful track record mentoring trainees and is deeply committed to expanding this mentoring. She will harness her long-standing collaborations in a community with a high HIV burden to evaluate strategies for improving access to HIV prevention and long-term treatment and to mentor the next generation of patient- oriented researchers.