Yale School of Nursing, Yale University's Graduate Nursing Programs

Group Receives $1.3 Million to Diversify Scholarship in HIV/AIDS Research

September 1, 2010

Barbara Guthrie.A new research education institute has received a $1.3 million grant to address the documented shortage of HIV/AIDS researchers from underrepresented groups.

Developed by research scientists Drs. Barbara Guthrie, Jean Schensul and Merrill Singer, the Research Education Institute for Diverse Scholars (REIDS) is a partnership between their respective institutions – Yale University School of Nursing (YSN), the Institute for Community Research, and the University of Connecticut's Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention.

The program aims to prepare scholars from underrepresented racial, ethnic, disabled and economic groups with the skills and experience needed to become successful HIV researchers. The Institute, funded with a grant by the National Institute of Mental Health, will be housed at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA) at Yale.

"There is a compelling need to close the existing gaps in mentoring and theory driven research education for new investigators in these specific groups," said Dr. Guthrie, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at YSN.

HIV demographics indicate a disproportionate rate of infection and transmission among racially and economically disadvantaged groups. Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the rate of AIDS diagnoses for black adults and adolescents is 10 times the rate for their white peers. The rate of new AIDS diagnoses among Latinos is three times that of white men, with a five-fold increase among Latinas.

Studies also show that HIV prevalence in impoverished urban areas is significantly higher than the general population. Yet research scientists from groups and communities most impacted by HIV/AIDS remain significantly underrepresented among funded HIV researchers.

The Institute's goal is to create a pipeline of scientists with an interest in community-based research and an emphasis on addressing HIV inequities in underrepresented communities. Scholars will benefit from a combination of sustained mentorship, a summer institute—involving a classroom-based curriculum—applied learning in community settings and an opportunity to design and conduct pilot projects. Four scholars will be recruited annually, selected for their interest in community-based research and HIV disparities.

"This program is of vital importance to our efforts to increase the impact of HIV/AIDS research on the course of the epidemic in the United States and other parts of the world, said Paul D. Cleary, CIRA's Director and Dean of the School of Public Health. "CIRA is dedicated to building a diverse cadre of HIV/AIDS research scientists and we are delighted to partner with the School of Nursing, UCONN and ICR on this initiative."

For more information about REIDS, contact program manager Jon Atherton at jon.atherton@yale.edu