The Fostering Diversity in HIV Research Program is currently recruiting participants for our second year.
In its first year, this program involved trainees (master’s and PhD students, residents, and post-doctoral fellows) and faculty from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. We have now expanded the program to include Brigham and Women’s Hospital as well. It is designed to help overcome the low and undesirable level of racial and ethnic diversity in the field of HIV research. The program is funded by the NIH (R25MH119857) and provides structured mentoring to create a welcoming environment for underrepresented in medicine/public health (URM) trainees that promotes rigorous research.
Our first cohort of participants included four master’s students, four PhD candidates, and four post-doctoral fellows. According to each participant’s interests and mentoring needs, we matched them with mentors for research projects, career development, and/or URM-specific mentoring. For trainees with existing mentors, we identified complementary mentors in new areas and/or opportunities for networking. Mentors associated the program also received training themselves on mentorship skills (e.g., including the Mentoring Across Difference curriculum) through quarterly workshops and seminars.
Over the course of the year, our trainees attended monthly seminars focused on career development (e.g., overview of NIH funding mechanisms, examples of successful career paths, management of discrimination and bias) and HIV research topics (e.g., chronic care, outcomes, and complications of treated HIV; maternal health and perinatal transmission). Although in-person social activities were not be possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, we offered a number of “social zooms” for participants to interact informally. The mix of different stages of careers has been advantageous in creating a close-knit community despite the need to use a virtual platform. We are hopeful that future events will be in person.
We also provided between $5,000 and $10,000 in funding (depending on stage of training) to each participant to support research, as well as other expenses including conference registration and open-access manuscript publication.
You can also find additional information at our website: Fostering Diversity in HIV Research Program | Center for Global Health | Mass General Hospital