The HIV Intervention Science Training Program (HISTP) hosted its first institute of 2022 for current HISTP scholars. The two-day institute, held on January 10th and 11th, featured presentations by renowned researchers and in-depth mock grant proposal review sessions.
The bi-annual institute serves several purposes. Underscoring the mission of HISTP, institutes aim to address and redress racial health disparities and systemic racism by recognizing scholars of color as best positioned to address racial and health disparities through NIH-funded research in a system that several new faculty are freshly navigating. The institute also shares the latest implementation science research with Scholars. Further, the collaborative spirit and collegial environment of the HISTP program and its participants encourages conversations about the impact of white supremacy culture faced in academia and elsewhere by scholars of color, providing space to share collective expertise and strategies to cope and/or overcome these barriers.
For Us, by Us: A Conversation about Racism, Discrimination and Bias in Higher Education
Day 1: Implementation Science, Machine Learning and Community-Engaged Initiatives to Advance HIV Prevention and Care
On the first day, HISTP scholars had the opportunity to learn about the latest advances in community-engaged research, big data and machine learning and implementations science from top researchers from The University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California, San Francisco, Columbia University, and Rutgers.
Two sessions focused on implementation science. Alida Bouris, PhD presented a session called “Reframing implementation science to address inequities in healthcare delivery,” and Rinad Beidas, PhD presented “Advanced Topics in Dissemination and Implementation Science.”
Dr. Bouris is a Co-Director of the Chicago Center for HIV Elimination (CCHE) and of the Behavioral, Social, and Implementation Sciences Core of the Third Coast CFAR. Dr. Beidas is the Founder and Director of the Penn Implementation Science Center, Director of the Penn Medicine Nudge Unit, and Associate Director at the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics.
Two additional presentations focused on machine learning and big data: Emily Arnold, PhD presented “Designing Mixed Methods Studies for Transformative Impact,” and Dustin Duncan, PhD presented “Spatial Disparities Across New York City Neighborhoods: The Role of Neighborhood Socio-demographic Characteristics and HIV Incidence.”
Dr. Arnold’s research interests lie at the intersections of culture and health behavior, particularly as this relates to gender, sexuality, and HIV-related risk behavior. Dr. Duncan is a social and spatial epidemiologist, studying how neighborhood characteristics and mobility across geographic contexts influence population health and health disparities. He is the Co-Director of the Social and Spatial Epidemiology Unit at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
The last presentations shared best practices in community-engaged initiatives. Gabriel Robles, PhD, presented “Community engagement to implement evidence-based practices,” and Florence Marie Momplaisir, MD, FACP, who presented “Long term engagement in HIV care among postpartum women with perinatal HIV infection.”
Dr. Robles is a clinical social worker, assistant professor at the School of Social Work at Rutgers University. He was recently awarded a grant from CFAR ADELANTE Program to improve PrEP continuum of care outcomes among sexual minority Latinx men. Dr. Momplaisir’s clinical research work focuses on improving postpartum retention and viral suppression for women living with HIV and on decreasing racial disparities in HIV prevalence among U.S. populations.
Day 2: Mock grant proposal review sessions
The mock review is often cited as a favorite among HISTP Scholars, providing them the opportunity to receive constructive feedback from seasoned NIH grantees on prospective NIH grants.
Four HISTP scholars – Jaih Craddock, PhD MSW, Melonie Walcott, DrPH, MPH, Peter Memiah, DrPH, MSc, and E. Wairimu Mwangi, PhD – participated in an NIH mock review process on the second day of the institute. Scholars presented their proposals including a K01 training award to support an early career investigator to advance PrEP uptake among cisgender women who use substances and an R15 to determine the effect of the neighborhood environment on the relationship between cardiometabolic disorders and neurocognitive impairment in HIV positive and HIV negative women.
The range and scope of ideas presented by scholars was significant: From using discrete choice experiments to optimize the design of interventions, to implementing nominal group technique to explore intervention opportunities.
For each proposal presented, reviewers provided at least two overall strengths, two major issues of concerns, and two specific suggestions to address these concerns.
Reviewers included Mallory Johnson, PhD, Florence Marie Momplaisir, MD, Alida Bouris, PhD, Dustin Duncan, PhD, Jared B. Jobe, PhD, Omar Martinez, JD, MPH, and Gabriel Robles, PhD.