With the requested Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research (K24), I plan to: (a) mentor a multi-disciplinary and socio-demographically diverse group of graduate students and early career investigators in behavioral aspects of HIV research with ethnic and sexual minority populations, with an emphasis in Native HIV research, (b) broaden my own career capabilities to conduct research utilizing web- based technologies and expand my HIV research repertoire to include HIV preventive interventions with Native populations. I have been consistently productive and successful in obtaining funding for my program of patient-oriented research. Moreover, I have a long history of supporting diverse mentees (70+) and helping them secure their own funding. Since its establishment in 2005, I have served as Director for the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI) at the University of Washington (UW), a university-wide interdisciplinary institute for indigenous health research and capacity building. Under my directorship, IWRI has generated over $12 million in research and training grants and we have mentored over 35 Native pre- and post-doctoral scholars as well as developed international and national research partnerships with Native organizations. IWRI is an ideal host institution to mentor aspiring early career scientists interested in pursuing HIV prevention research with indigenous populations. However, as a full-time faculty and Director of IWRI, administrative and teaching obligations have limited the time I can commit to mentoring. This award will allow me to further devote my time and resources to mentoring (from 5% to 25% effort for mentoring and 25% for career development and research). Moreover, it would move me closer to my longer term goals of becoming an internationally recognized leader in global indigenous HIV research and developing more systematic and formalized mentoring programs at international levels. At the UW, there is a large pool of diverse and well qualified mentees for whom I have outlined specific plans for selecting, mentoring, and involving in my own active ongoing program of research. Plans include continuing and formalizing individual and group-based support for a cohort of diverse pre- and post-doctoral and early career investigators at the UW and nationally. This support will be integrated with ongoing programs at the UW-particularly with IWRI's Indigenous HIV/AIDS Research Training Program (R25) and Center for AIDS Research's Sociobehavioral and Prevention Core. My career development activities will involve concentrated training in online technologies for intervention research, intensive training in HIV intervention research design and implementation, and mentorship/leadership training. The newly proposed research involves a 4-phase study of an online interactive intervention targeting Native MSMs at risk for HIV. This comprises qualitative formative work, an online internet feasibility and acceptability study, development of a multi-modular online intervention with social networking capabilities, and a pilot randomized controlled trial of the intervention.

Public Health Relevance

This award will assist in increasing the availability of a diverse group of researchers successfully researching behavioral aspects of HIV, which is crucial to combating this global pandemic that disproportionately hits marginalized communities and communities of color, particularly among Native Americans, African Americans, and Latinos/Hispanics. This award will also assist in the career development of a UREM mid-career investigator who aims to develop an online interactive HIV prevention program for American Indian and Alaska Natives to assist them with increasing healthy behaviors and decreasing HIV-related risk behaviors. An internet intervention for this population is ideal given that they tend to live in rural locations where access to HIV preventive interventions is limited.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research (K24)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
AIDS Behavioral Research Subcommittee (NIDA)
Program Officer
Jenkins, Richard A
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Washington
Schools of Social Welfare/Work
United States
Zip Code
Schultz, Katie; Walters, Karina L; Beltran, Ramona et al. (2016) ""I'm stronger than I thought"": Native women reconnecting to body, health, and place. Health Place 40:21-8
Walls, Melissa; Pearson, Cynthia; Kading, Margarette et al. (2016) Psychological Wellbeing in the Face of Adversity among American Indians: Preliminary Evidence of a New Population Health Paradox? Ann Public Health Res 3:
Walters, Karina L; Simoni, Jane M; Evans-Campbell, Teresa Tessa et al. (2016) Mentoring the Mentors of Underrepresented Racial/Ethnic Minorities Who are Conducting HIV Research: Beyond Cultural Competency. AIDS Behav 20 Suppl 2:288-93
Pearson, Cynthia R; Kaysen, Debra; Belcourt, Annie et al. (2015) Post-traumatic stress disorder and HIV risk behaviors among rural American Indian/Alaska Native women. Am Indian Alsk Native Ment Health Res 22:1-20
Yuan, Nicole P; Duran, Bonnie M; Walters, Karina L et al. (2014) Alcohol misuse and associations with childhood maltreatment and out-of-home placement among urban two-spirit American Indian and Alaska Native people. Int J Environ Res Public Health 11:10461-79
Fredriksen-Goldsen, Karen I; Simoni, Jane M; Kim, Hyun-Jun et al. (2014) The health equity promotion model: Reconceptualization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) health disparities. Am J Orthopsychiatry 84:653-63
Pantalone, David W; Huh, David; Nelson, Kimberly M et al. (2014) Prospective predictors of unprotected anal intercourse among HIV-seropositive men who have sex with men initiating antiretroviral therapy. AIDS Behav 18:78-87
Pearson, Cynthia R; Parker, Myra; Fisher, Celia B et al. (2014) Capacity building from the inside out: development and evaluation of a CITI ethics certification training module for American Indian and Alaska Native community researchers. J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics 9:46-57
Pearson, Cynthia R; Cassels, Susan (2014) Place and sexual partnership transition among young American Indian and Alaska native women. AIDS Behav 18:1443-53
Orellana, E Roberto; Alva, Isaac E; Cárcamo, Cesar P et al. (2013) Structural factors that increase HIV/STI vulnerability among indigenous people in the Peruvian amazon. Qual Health Res 23:1240-50

Showing the most recent 10 out of 19 publications