Developing a Mentoring Network of Diverse Mental Health Professionals Utilizing the CNICS Platform

Investigator: Monica Gandhi, MD, MPH
Sponsor: NIH National Institute of Mental Health

Location(s): United States


The CFAR [Center for AIDS Research] Network of Integrated Clinical Systems (CNICS) group proposes to develop and implement a new comprehensive mentoring program to facilitate successful growth and development of the next generation of HIV investigators with diverse backgrounds to support multidisciplinary HIV research. The mentoring program will link early career investigators and senior mentors focusing on data within the established CNICS research platform. CNICS is an NIH funded project consisting of well curated common clinical data elements derived from the electronic health records at eight CFARs. Specifically, we will target post doctoral and assistant professors from: (1) underrepresented racial and ethnic groups; (2) persons with disabilities who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (3) individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds or (4) individuals who come from a social, cultural, or educational environment that inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career. The mentoring program will be composed of five components: 1) A two-day intensive course focused on mentors to assist with building the required skills and sensitivities to mentor individuals from diverse backgrounds; 2) A Web-accessed site to inform and match early career mentees interested in receiving mentoring with senior mentors who have been trained as effective mentors; 3) A workshop for mentees of the important information essential for academic career development; 4) Enhance opportunities through the use of social networking technology (Facebook and Twitter) for networking and collaboration among early career investigators; 5) Expand CNICS data elements to support careers for persons with a focus on mental health and behavioral health.