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Am J Public Health. 2015 Apr;105(4):823-30. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302076. Epub 2014 Aug 14.

Enhancing diversity in the public health research workforce: the research and mentorship program for future HIV vaccine scientists.

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Carrie J. Sopher, Blythe Jane S. Adamson, Michele P. Andrasik, Danna M. Flood, Steven F. Wakefield, Ryan S. Cook, and James G. Kublin are with the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA. David M. Stoff is with Neuropsychiatry of HIV/AIDS, AIDS Research Training, HIV/AIDS Health Disparities, Division of AIDS Research, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD. Jonathan D. Fuchs is with San Francisco Department of Public Health and University of California, San Francisco, CA.



We developed and evaluated a novel National Institutes of Health-sponsored Research and Mentorship Program for African American and Hispanic medical students embedded within the international, multisite HIV Vaccine Trials Network, and explored its impact on scientific knowledge, acquired skills, and future career plans.


Scholars conducted social, behavioral, clinical, or laboratory-based research projects with HIV Vaccine Trials Network investigators over 8 to 16 weeks (track 1) or 9 to 12 months (track 2). We conducted an in-depth, mixed-methods evaluation of the first 2 cohorts (2011-2013) to identify program strengths, areas for improvement, and influence on professional development.


A pre-post program assessment demonstrated increases in self-reported knowledge, professional skills, and interest in future HIV vaccine research. During in-depth interviews, scholars reported that a supportive, centrally administered program; available funding; and highly involved mentors and staff were keys to the program's early success.


A multicomponent, mentored research experience that engages medical students from underrepresented communities and is organized within a clinical trials network may expand the pool of diverse public health scientists. Efforts to sustain scholar interest over time and track career trajectories are warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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