International Traineeships in AIDS Prevention Studies (ITAPS)

Investigator: George Rutherford, MD
Sponsor: NIH National Institute of Mental Health

Location(s): United States


The Center for AIDS Prevention Studies' (CAPS) International Program has over the past 13 years developed an innovative training course for developing-country scientists focused on designing pilot research protocols in AIDS prevention and epidemiology for implementation in trainees' home countries. As part of the program, we provide funding and ongoing technical assistance to implement these pilot studies in the field. To date, 100 trainees from 34 developing countries have participated. The results of their studies have been disseminated through scientific conferences and in peer-reviewed journals, and many of our trainees have taken leadership positions in their countries' AIDS control programs. We now propose to revise and update our successful model to provide more in-depth training with a specific focus on intervention research. The new program, International Traineeships in AIDS Prevention Studies (I-TAPS), will consist of an intensive 10-week summer course, with each year being devoted to a different "theme" around which trainees will develop protocols. CAPS faculty will provide funding and technical assistance to implement these studies in the field over the next one to two years. Because protocols will be thematically focused each summer we anticipate that similar protocols can be implemented in different sites allowing for cross-cultural comparisons. We propose to host three groups of six trainees each in the summers of 2002, 2003 and 2004. In the summers of 2005 and 2006 trainees will have an opportunity to return for a group writing sabbatical to complete data analysis and prepare manuscripts for publication. Trainees will be selected from among our most successful program alumni as well as from among other competent applicants. In this application we seek 5 years of funding to support the faculty and administrative time that is required for planning and teaching the I-TAPS program and to provide ongoing technical support of the pilot studies. We have successfully secured funding from other sources to cover travel and housing costs for trainees in all 5 years and to support their research projects. Our program's international reputation for excellence will enable us to recruit and train first-rate developing country scientists who will produce high-quality research, become self-supporting researchers and make important contributions to AIDS prevention globally. We will take full advantage of the unique resources available at CAPS, ensuring high-quality, theory-based research and rapid dissemination of findings to other AIDS researchers, prevention scientists and policy makers, both domestically and internationally.