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Research in HIV Intervention: Skills for the Community (RHISC)

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Research in HIV Intervention: Skills for the Community (RHISC) is a four-year fellowship program, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) as the Research in HIV: Skills for Underserved Communities and Families R25 training grant, which will run until Summer 2012. Our goal is to grow and to educate HIV researchers in the New York City (NYC) metropolitan area who have a deep understanding of the issues in their own cultures and communities that may facilitate or provide barriers to effective HIV intervention. RHISC consists of three annual 6-week research career and skill development Summer Institutes, taught by highly experienced researchers in the field, and four years of year-round mentoring. Summer Institute II is scheduled for July 6, 2010 to August 16, 2010 and Summer Institute III will occur in 2011.

The 8 RHISC Fellows are early career academic faculty and advanced degree professional health and service providers from the greater NYC metropolitan area. Fellows entered the program with clearly-defined research objectives and career goals, along with the support of an individual from their home institution serving as their mentor. During Summer Institute I, Fellows refined a 2-3 page concept paper outlining their proposal for pilot research during enrollment in RHISC. During Summer Institute Year 2, Fellows advance skills in implementing projects, analyzing data, and publishing while planning research careers. In Years 3 and 4, Fellows execute grant and manuscript authorships fulfilling these plans. In addition to their home institution mentor, each Fellow develops a relationship with a RHISC Mentoring Faculty member for the duration of the program.

Note: RHISC is currently not accepting new applications for fellowships.

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During RHISC, all Fellows will:

  • Strengthen relationships with a RHISC faculty mentor and a home institution mentor two weeks into Summer Institute Year 1;
  • Revise concept papers into pilot proposals meriting award of RHISC pilot project funds by three months following Summer Institute Year 1;
  • Begin executing pilot projects as part of a greater career and research career roadmap by the beginning of Summer Institute Year 2;
  • Advance pilot projects to the degree necessary to achieve entrance into presentation-production, publication-production, and grant application phases by the beginning of Summer Institute Year 3; and
  • Submit 1 manuscript for a peer-reviewed journal and/or deliver 2 professional presentations, as well as make significant progress on a federally-funded career award or research application, by the end of Year 4.

It is our expectation that within 2 years of completing RHISC, a majority of Fellows will have achieved one or more of the following:

  • Authorship of 1-2 relevant peer-reviewed research publications or presentations per year;
  • Documentation of adoption/dissemination of an evidence-based HIV intervention for an appropriate target community, either as part of a research or service project or evolving from evidence accruing from the Fellow’s work;
  • Submission of 1-2 applications for career or research awards;
  • Receipt of career advancement awards (e.g., K-series, other fellowships/ traineeships);
  • Receipt of awards for relevant research projects, either internal or external to their then-current home institutions; and
  • Educational/job placements likely to further foster youth, community and family HIV research.

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Courses will cover a variety of topics, including scientific and methodological aspects of HIV-related research; youth-, community- and family-based approaches to reducing HIV; effective community outreach; reaching hidden communities; ethics; advanced grant writing; budget development; designing grounded/culturally sensitive interventions; statistical methods for longitudinal and nested research designs; qualitative methods; financial tracking; variance reporting; communicating to a broad range of audiences; preparing manuscripts for submission to peer-reviewed publications; and public policy implications of research.

Additional skills to be developed include:

  • Reinforcing auto-criticism by taking the viewpoint of potential reviewers, clients and eventual service/policy adapters/adopters during sharing and review sessions.
  • Anticipating and integrating human subjects issues.
  • Understanding that grant-writing and budgeting processes serve, rather than lead, scientific aims.
  • Expanding Fellows’ concept of available funding mechanisms and their intent.
  • Addressing innovation and approach by understanding emerging issues, existing programs/research, needed programs/research, and the importance of harmony between needs, aims, underlying theories, methods, measures, and analytic strategy.
  • Anticipating and addressing common problems (recruitment, retention, acceptability) through proven field techniques.
  • Using business management techniques to assure quality.

RHISC Fellows

RHISC Fellows' bios are available here.


Please refer to our Summer Institute Calendar for more information on summer sessions and other important events.


For more information about RHISC, please contact Brian Davis at (212) 481-4075 or The RHISC Fellowship is closed to new applicants.

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RHISC is funded by NIMH R25 training grant, Research in HIV: Skills for Underserved Communities and Families and is hosted exclusively at the Hunter College Center for Community and Urban Health, City University of New York. All materials © 2009, Hunter College Center for Community and Urban Health.