About the Program

Program Goals and Components

Training will focus on the following two linked areas: 

  1. Culturally informed interventions for racial/ethnic, sexual, and gender minority populations and;

  2. Innovative bio-behavioral interventions including scale up, linkage, and dissemination/implementation programs for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and treatment as prevention (TasP) in populations who need it most.

Training will also emphasize

  1. Innovative state-of-the-science statistical and design methods;

  2. Community engagement through participatory research, and;

  3. Professional development, mentorship, and network building. 

All trainees will gain eight core competencies via participation in the training activities of CHANGE. These competencies reflect those widely recognized as necessary for the next generation of scientists to successfully reduce HIV and mental health disparities and promote health equity across the prevention and treatment continua. The program’s core competencies are: 

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  • 1 - Social Determinants of HIV and Mental Health Outcomes

    Trainees will gain an understanding of higher order determinants of disparities in HIV and mental health risk, onset, and outcomes. Such determinants encompass factors that operate on a community- and/or population-level and influence disease risk and outcome above and beyond biological factors and individual socioeconomic condition; they include, though are not limited to, racism, homophobia, transphobia, discrimination and stigma, poverty, and culture (e.g. values, beliefs, practices, family roles/systems).

    This area of concentration in training is achieved by coursework available to candidates, through participation in case-based seminars, mentored activities and applied through their final projects.

    Candidates will demonstrate competencies in this foundational area by proposing the development of interventions in HIV and mental health which accounts for or addresses social determinants in design, choice of population, or outcomes. 

  • 2 - Community-Based Participatory Research / Community Engaged Research (CBPR/CER)

    Our competency in community engagement extends to being Patient-Centered and Stakeholder-Engaged which are essential skills to create effective, sustainable community partnerships. Therefore, participating trainees will be trained in stakeholder engagement, with emphasis on capturing research participant and/or patient experiences to ensure that relevant research questions are asked in a community and culturally informed manner.

    Demonstration of competencies in CBPR will be through the candidates’ participation in community activities and through their stakeholder engagement plans and presentations, particularly their final research project in the community.

  • 3 - Biological and Clinical Foundations of HIV and Mental Health Prevention, Care and Treatment

    It is critical that investigators conducting HIV, mental health, and health equity research are familiar with the fundamental biology of both HIV and mental health risk and prevention, and with HIV and mental health clinical care and health consequences (e.g., HIV and aging). This will aid in understanding the complex interactions between biological processes and multilevel social determinants of HIV and mental health outcomes.

    Candidates will develop and demonstrate understanding of these knowledge areas through research papers and projects.

  • 4 - State of the Science Methods for Design and Analysis and Reproducibility

    Strong methodological training in state-of-the-science design and analysis methods aim to ensure the long-run success of CHANGE trainees. Trainees will develop competencies in science methods and statistics through required courses, workshops and seminars.

    Competence will be displayed in presentations, papers, and the final project.

  • 5 - Innovations in Assessment, Intervention, and Implementation Science in Specific Populations

    Trainees in the program will gain knowledge on measurement, intervention and implementation science methodologies that targets specific populations such as the LGBTQ community, racial and ethnic minorities, including, but not limited to, validated assessment tools in specific groups and languages and interventions that have been culturally adapted and informed to meet the unique needs of a specific population.

    Competence will be demonstrated through presentations, papers, and final project.

  • 6 - Professional and Career Development

    Trainees will gain the necessary professional skills (e.g., presentation skills, conference attendance, networking, conflict negotiation andresolution, mentoring) to develop their careers through hands on experiences.

  • 7 - Training in the Reproducibility of Results and Responsible Conduct of Research

    These are critical components of any research training program, and fellows will participate in multiple training modalities to achieve competency in the responsible conduct of research, cultural considerations in ethical decision making, and to gain the tools and procedures to ensure the reproducibility of results.

  • 8 - Scientific and Grant Writing

    Trainees will participate in established grant writing workshops and will complement their training through applied experiences with their mentors and consultations with the CHARM Development, Methods and Mental Health Disparities cores.

    Candidates will also demonstrate their gained scientific writing skills through development of a scientific portfolio as part of their culminating product of training.

Program Provisions

Each trainee will be provided with a training stipend, and limited funds for travel and general research training costs associated with the traineeship. Stipends are based on years of relevant experience and follow the NIH stipend scale for Institutional Research Training Grants. Unless other arrangements are more suitable, all trainees will use our modern and fully equipped office facilities on the University of Miami campus.

Current Leadership

Sannisha Dale, PhD – Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

Daniel J. Feaster, PhD – Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences

Viviana E. Horigian, MD, MHA – Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences 

Learn about the CHANGE Program Co-Directors.

Program Mentors

The CHANGE fellows will be supported by 34 faculty mentors who are actively engaged in federally funded research, clinical care, and/or community health initiatives, and have experience in mentoring. 

Learn more about our current mentors.

Affiliated Centers and Departments: