Cyber Mentors

A training program for HIV/AIDS researchers working on health disparities

Cyber MentorsThe Cyber Mentors Program is an innovative research mentoring program preparing promising researchers who have not yet received R01-level funding to develop successful independent careers in HIV/AIDS research. The Cyber Mentors Program uses a national cadre of senior HIV/AIDS researchers as volunteer mentors and matches them with a national sample of promising HIV/AIDS research mentees. The program assists mentees in developing their capacity for a successful career in HIV/AIDS research; refining their technical knowledge; strengthening the skills required to design and implement high-quality research; and developing skills to write and submit a successful NIH grant.

To achieve program goals, Cyber Mentors uses state-of-the-art distance-learning technologies to prepare mentees to submit a high-quality NIH grant application, facilitate professional relationships with senior HIV/AIDS scientists and support their research and mentoring efforts. Mentors assist mentees by reviewing drafts and providing feedback, discussing or assisting with data analysis, assisting with revisions, coauthoring and providing encouragement and support.

Monthly webinars cover various research, methodology and administrative topics relevant to research careers. Some webinar discussion topics have included the development of preliminary studies; the construction of successful proposal budgets; the use of power analysis, effect size, and sampling; and HIV research ethics. During small group discussions, mentees apply concepts learned during webinars in the development of their own proposals and receive feedback on specific sections of their applications from a variety of program mentors and HIV/AIDS experts.

Mentees also have the opportunity to participate in full-scale mock reviews in which their grant applications are reviewed and scored by senior HIV/AIDS researchers. Reviewers provide written feedback to mentees, with an emphasis placed on recommendations for improvement. Mentees revise their applications in response to the mock review feedback before submitting finalized proposals to funding agencies. Of the applications submitted to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 69 percent were discussed and received a priority score, 41 percent were successfully funded, and an additional three grants are awaiting a funding decision.

To further prepare mentees for proposal submissions, the program conducts an annual workshop in conjunction with the APA convention. Last year’s workshop took place in Washington, D.C. It provided attendees an opportunity to participate in simulated mock review sessions of their colleagues’ draft proposals and network with one another. It also allowed mentees the opportunity to attend the APA Convention.

To find out more about the Cyber Mentors Program, contact Cherie Mitchell, the Cyber Mentors Program coordinator. You may also see the Cyber Mentors web page for additional information.

International AIDS Conference

International AIDS Conference

The International AIDS Conference is the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as policymakers, persons living with HIV and other individuals committed to ending the pandemic. It will be an important opportunity for researchers from around the world to share the latest scientific advances in the field, learn from one another’s expertise, and develop strategies for advancing all facets to treat and prevent HIV/AIDS.

The return of the biennial International AIDS Conference to the United States since 1990 represents a significant victory for public health and human rights. The selection of Washington, D.C., as the site for the 19th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) is also significant as it is home to key players in the global response to AIDS, including the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, which directs PEPFAR — the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief; the National Institutes of Health; and the World Bank.

The AIDS 2012 program will present new scientific knowledge and offer many opportunities for structured dialogue on the major issues facing the global response to HIV. A variety of session types — from abstract-driven presentations to symposia, bridging sessions, and plenary sessions — will meet the needs of various participants. Other related activities, including the Global Village, satellite meetings, exhibitions and affiliated independent events, will contribute to an exceptional opportunity for professional development and networking.

The 2012 International AIDS Conference is expected to convene more than 25,000 delegates from nearly 200 countries, including more than 2,500 journalists. The conference will be held from July 22 to 27, 2012, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

For more information on AIDS 2012, visit the AIDS 2012 webpage or call (202) 442-8391.