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Am J Public Health. 2009 Apr;99 Suppl 1:S26-30. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.135996. Epub 2009 Feb 26.

Training for research in mental health and HIV/AIDS among racial and ethnic minority populations: meeting the needs of new investigators.

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  • 1Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research, Cambridge Health Alliance, Somerville, MA 02143, USA.


My experiences as a mentor of young investigators, along with conversations with a diverse pool of mentees, led me to question the ability of conventional research methods, problem formulation, and instruments to address the unique challenges of studying racial and ethnic minorities. Training of new investigators should prepare them to explore alternative research paradigms and atypical research strategies, such as community-based participatory research and Photovoice technique. Unconventional approaches to research may challenge common explanations for unmet needs, noncompliance with treatments, and poor service outcomes. Mentors may need to develop broader theoretical insights that will facilitate unconventional problem formulation. The teaching of scientific research and mentoring of young investigators who study minority populations should evolve along with the changing research environment.

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