The HIV/AIDS epidemic in globally and in the United States is concentrated in Black communities, among men who have sex with men, and other minority groups. Yet the researchers that study the virus often do not come from these underrepresented groups, but come from more privileged backgrounds. To address this issue, Jessica Haberer, MD, MS, Wafaie W. Fawzi, PhD, MB, BS, and Sherri-Ann Burnett-Bowie, MD, launched the Fostering Diversity in HIV Research Program to provide mentoring and support for researchers from racial and ethnic backgrounds that are underrepresented in medicine.
With support from the National Institutes of Health, the program is built on two principles: mentoring and financial support. Faculty at Mass General Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health provide mentorship to program trainees, creating supporting environments where trainees’ careers and rigorous research are promoted. The program offers formal didactics training, sponsors community of practice events, and has available funding to support research, travel, and securing publications.
The program is designed to help trainees build competency in every level of the HIV continuum: HIV testing and outreach; PrEP delivery and adherence; linkage, retention in care, and ART adherence; chronic care and complications of treated HIV; and maternal health and perinatal transmission.