The Brown Initiative in HIV and AIDS Clinical Research for Minority Communities

Multiple Principal Investigators
Amy Nunn, ScD
Timothy Flanigan, MD (The Miriam Hospital)

Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute of Mental Health

Grant Number:
 5R25MH083620-08

Our goal is to train the next generation of minority researchers to address the challenges of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of HIV, particularly in minority communities. Nearly 50% of new infections are among African-Americans, and African-Americans have poorer health outcomes at every point along the HIV/AIDS continuum of diagnosis and care. In particular, African American communities, particularly the inner-city Eastern seaboard and the rural and urban South, are most heavily impacted by HIV/AIDS.

President Obama's National AIDS Strategy calls for reduction in HIV incidence, reductions in racial disparities in HIV infection, and allocating resources to the most heavily impacted communities. In order to address racial disparities in HIV infection and the impact of HIV/AIDS in minority communities, we must train minority investigators from the most heavily impacted communities, particularly from inner city communities and the American South. This requires interdisciplinary, culturally competent research training of the next generation of HIV/AIDS researchers; this training must address the social, structural and behavioral factors contributing to the epidemic.

The Brown Initiative in HIV and AIDS Clinical Research for Disadvantaged Communities is an educational and mentoring program for new investigators from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, with a particular focus on African Americans conducting research on HIV/AIDS health disparities and the co-occurring epidemics of incarceration, hepatitis C co-infection, substance use, and mental illness. During our first five years, we trained 28 minority postdoctoral and junior faculty members in HIV related clinical research, and developed collaborative relationships with five universities, with an emphasis on Mississippi and the South. Scholars from diverse disciplines represent 14 institutions; 79% of scholars are African- American, 11% are Asian Pacific Islander, 7% are Hispanic, and 3% are Native American.