A Sustainable Model for Training HIV/AIDS Researchers to Address Health Disparities
Use our online form and apply to become a Cyber Mentors protégé.
The Cyber Mentors Program, funded by Grant #2R25MH083635-04 from the National Institute of Mental Health, is designed to prepare behavioral and social scientists for successful independent research careers that examine HIV/AIDS and health disparities among populations of color and other communities disproportionately affected by the virus. The 2-year long mentorship program utilizes state of the art distance collaboration and learning technologies (e.g., social media, webinars, etc.), which facilitate the development of professional relationships that support protégés’ research efforts and prepares them to submit a successful National Institutes of Health grant application.
The Cyber Mentors program matches early career protégés with volunteer mentors who are leaders in the field of HIV/AIDS research and have a track record of receiving NIH-supported grants. One-on-one mentoring consists of two components:
- Develop and implement a career development plan focused on building the strengths of the protégé to conduct independent research.
- Conceptualize, draft and submit a research application to a federal or private funding agency.
Mentoring occurs via regular interactions through a dedicated social media platform, over the telephone and during in-person meetings at the annual APA Convention. Protégé/mentor pairs also have the opportunity to apply for up to $5,000 to support research or career development activities (e.g., preliminary data collection, attending additional conferences).
In addition to one-on-one mentoring, protégés participate in a series of online career development seminars that address various research, methodological, administrative and ethics topics relevant to research careers. Monthly large group didactic sessions with expert presenters take place in online classrooms and small group sessions are used to help protégés apply the concepts and skills learned in the didactic sessions into developing their own proposals. These sessions take place approximately every other month. Protégés also participate in a mock peer review process where their applications are reviewed and scored. During the mock review, protégés receive written summary statements to which they must formulate a response for the "next" submission of their application.
By the end of the 2-year mentorship period, protégés in the Cyber Mentors program will have developed and begun to implement a career development plan, have a draft of a research proposal to submit to NIH or another funding agency and have identified an appropriate funding mechanism through which they will apply for funding.