Multiple Principal Investigators
Amy Nunn, ScD, MS
Leandro Mena, MD, MPH (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute of Mental Health
Grant Number: R25MH083620-11A
The goal of this program is to train the next generation of researchers to end the HIV epidemic and to conduct research related to reducing racial disparities in HIV outcomes in the Southern United States. The project is led by Dr. Amy Nunn and Dr. Leandro Mena, who have worked collaboratively on these topics for over a decade in Mississippi and beyond. This program was initially funded in 2008 and exceeded its key objectives during the last 11 years; we trained 40 investigators during the last funding cycle. During the last five years, our fellows attributed 492 peer-reviewed articles and 53 successfully funded grants to this training program.
This renewal continues our focus on racial disparities and community engaged scholarship, with greater emphasis on ending the epidemic in the South and in jurisdictions most heavily impacted by the HIV epidemic. This initiative and the mentoring curriculum will align with the US Plan to End the HIV Epidemic (EtHE). The program will prioritize training investigators from communities historically underrepresented in the sciences, with emphasis on training investigators from or conducting practice-oriented research in geographic hotspots of HIV infection, with a focus on the South. This structured mentoring program will focus on community-engaged scholarship, geographically circumscribed interventions, reducing racial disparities in HIV infection, partnering with health departments, and delivering proven HIV prevention and care interventions through novel means in the rural South.
The program has the following specific aims:
Specific Aim 1: To train the next generation of researchers in the communities most heavily impacted by the epidemic in HIV/AIDS research to develop, implement, and evaluate interventions to reduce racial disparities in HIV prevention and care, including HIV screening, PrEP, and HIV treatment. This training includes formal coursework, quarterly mentoring workshops, one-on-one mentoring, epidemiological design, and clinical service delivery experiences in real-world clinical and community settings.
Specific Aim 2: To train investigators from communities enumerated in the EtHE plan, particularly African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos in the South. These investigators will lead scientific investigation addressing social, structural and behavioral drivers of the epidemic; lead clinical, epidemiological and implementation research to mitigate HIV/AIDS disparities; and develop, implement, and evaluate culturally appropriate and geographically circumscribed interventions focused on the South.