HISTP Hosts an Institute for New Scholars

The HIV Intervention Science Training Program for Underrepresented Investigators (HISTP) hosts its first institute for new cohort 

December 11, 2019

There is a significant need to increase the number of underrepresented scholars in biomedical research. An article about HISTP in The Chronicle put it starkly: “Of the nation’s scientific research faculty in 2015 — the latest year for which data are available — only 4 percent were African-American, 4 percent Hispanic, 0.2 percent Native American, and 0.1 percent Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. Those are mere fractions of the percentages of those groups in the population as a whole.” 

Several factors result in fewer applications from racial and ethnic minority scientists. As the aforementioned article states, “African-Americans make up about 13.4 percent of the population, but African-American scientists constitute only 1.5 percent of the applicant pool for major National Institutes of Health research grants.” 

HISTP aims to increase the number of highly trained multidisciplinary HIV scientists from groups underrepresented among NIH Principal Investigators by providing training, mentorship, and other research and professional development activities enabling scholars to conduct implementation research focused on the HIV continuum of care and the criminal justice system.

Current scholars in front of histp banner

In service of this mission, HISTP selected seven top scholars to participate in the program in an extremely competitive process and recently hosted its first Fall Institute for the new cohort of scholars. 

Of the institutes, Director Dr. Nabila El-Bassel says,

Institutes are a fantastic way to foster collaboration among scholars. Past institutes have resulted in career-long friendships and professional relationships including scholars who have co-authored publications, written joint grant proposals, shared research strategies with fellow scholars, and provided support in a system that often provides few resources to underrepresented scholars.

The three-day Institute included informative presentations by each of the new scholars, presentations by graduating scholars including one entitled “Racial Inequality in Academia.” 

dr. roberto presents his powerpoint

HISTP Scholar Dr. Jaih Craddock said,

Our discussion with Dr. Roberto Orellana on Racial Inequality in Academia was invaluable in understanding challenges people of color face in academia as a researcher, professor, and scholar, particularly those on a tenure track.

Drs. Terry Huang and Nasim Sabounchi presented a session “Use of Systems Thinking and Methods to Address Complex Public Health Challenges.” 

powerpoint and dr huang

The three-day Institute also included a tour of ICAP facilities, presentations by RTI International on career development, presentations by ASPIRE on creating global partnerships, important information about NIH peer review, and open discussions led by an HISTP alumna.

presentation and presenter

Dr. Anindita Dasgupta of SIG and ASPIRE also presented a session entitled "Creating global health partnerships: practical lessons from the field." The Institute was highly productive. HISTP scholar Dr. Kingori said,

A wonderful day of great research presentations by HISTP scholars. I am so excited about potential collaborative opportunities. Glad to be a forward fellow!

a scholars bent over a laptop working next to another scholar

Dr. Kingori continues, 

“I had an enriching time interacting with other colleagues/friends in HISTP. It was good to spend quality time with successful researchers who strive to make a difference in their work and understand the struggles of being a faculty of color. Thanks to Elwin and Nabila for taking the time to work with us one on one while we were at the institute a couple of weeks ago. I particularly worked with Elwin who took the time to look over an R21 proposal that I have been working on. His patience and ability to help me understand what is needed while applying for an NIH grant was so helpful.”

HISTP is an essential program for elevating the research skills and visibility of faculty of color. I was feeling very drained and tired prior to the institute but left rejuvenated after the three days.

Dr. Elwin Wu, co-Director of HISTP, led a session on NIH Peer Review. He said, 

Our ultimate goal is for Scholars to achieve success with NIH grant applications. So we aimed to give Scholars an insider's view of the grant review process, paying special attention to the needs, issues, and opportunities salient to racial/ethnic minority applicants.

group of scholars and presenters in front of screen inside meeting room

Learn more about each of the presenters / sessions

Director Dr. Nabila El-Bassel and co-Director Dr. Elwin Wu

HISTP Scholars

Drs. Terry Huang and Nasim Sabounchi

Dr. Roberto Orellana

ICAP: ICAP supports large-scale, evidence-based health programs that improve services for HIV prevention, care, and treatment; tuberculosis; malaria; non-communicable diseases; reproductive health; and maternal and child health. 

Dr. Andrea Howard

Dr. Wendee Wechsberg

Dr. Anindita Dasgupta

Dr. Liliane Windsor

Read more about HISTP’s eligibility criteria and apply or share the link to apply with scholars.