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Effective mentoring critical to HIV/AIDS research efforts
Date:2/26/2009

An innovative mentoring program at the UCSF-Gladstone Institute for Virology and Immunology Center for AIDS Research is providing vital support for the development of the next generation of HIV/AIDS researchers and clinician scientists.

Described in an article published in the American Journal for Public Health appearing February 26 in the First Look section of the AJPH website, the program focuses on overcoming challenges faced by early-career investigators through several novel mechanisms.

"One key innovation adopted in our program is 'trans' mentoring. In this model, a mentee is paired with a mentor from a research discipline different from the mentee's. For instance, a mentee working in basic science is paired with a mentor who is doing either clinical or behavioral research. One advantage is to lessen potential conflicts of interest between mentee and mentor. Additionally, an important benefit in that it strongly encourages multidisciplinary research," said the article's co-author James S. Kahn, MD, UCSF professor of clinical medicine and co-director of the UCSF-GIVI CFAR's mentoring program.

One of the goals of the CFAR mentoring program is to support and create pathways for multidisciplinary HIV research. The three broad categories that mentors and mentees are divided into are basic research, clinical or translational research, and population or behavioral research.

Another significant innovation in the CFAR program lies in considering the role of the mentor.

"In the past, senior investigators mentored junior researchers without really considering what was necessary for successful mentoring. Our concept is that mentoring is a teachable skill. We focus on and help develop the specific skill set needed by a mentor to best assist an early-career investigator," said Kahn.

Open mentoring is an innovation that the CFAR mentoring program uses to support its goal of retaining early-career inves
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Contact: Jeff Sheehy
jsheehy@ari.ucsf.edu
415-597-8165
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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