Increasing the diversity of the HIV research workforce remains a priority for research and funding organizations in the US. Mentorship is a vital component for early-career investigators, especially for underrepresented racial/ethnic and sexual minority HIV investigators. These investigators face unique social and structural challenges to developing and fostering mentorship relationships, as well as building a solid foundation for a successful career in HIV research. This article provides a perspective from four Black early-career investigators, supplemented with comments from 15 underrepresented investigators in the US, as they reflect on their needs, challenges, contributions, and successes in finding the right mentor and mentorship environment, balancing the opportunities for, and “threats” to success, as well as providing mentorship to other underrepresented and aspiring HIV investigators. Mentorship programs must address these needs and challenges while building on the strengths of underrepresented HIV investigators in order to improve recruitment, retention and ultimately the pipeline of these researchers.
Minority investigators HIV research Mentorship HIV workforce
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R.A. Brewer and H. Scott generated the initial concept, drafted the manuscript, updated subsequent drafts, and completed the final version for publication. C.C. Watson and T. Dyer also helped design the initial concept, contributed to the data collection and analysis, drafted specific sections of the manuscript, and revised the manuscript.
R.A. Brewer’s time was supported by a grant from NIMH (R25MH067127) for the Visiting Professor Program at the University of California, San Francisco. T. Dyer’s time was protected by a grant funded by NIDA (R03 DA03713101) and NIMHD LRP. H. Scott time was supported by a grant from NIMH (K23 MH104116). The authors are grateful for the support and guidance provided by the District of Columbia Developmental Center for AIDS Research (DC D-CFAR), and NIH-funded Program (P30AI117970).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
No conflicts of interest to report.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Institutional Review Board approval was obtained for the study.
Verbal informed consent was obtained from all interviewed participants in the study.
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