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Research Scholars: Training and Mentoring

Choosing a Mentor

Mentors play a key role in the TRNAMH Program. We believe that mentorship is the most critical form of leadership associated with training in any career, and is one of the most frequently cited components of a successful research career. Trainees chosen as TRNAMH Research Scholars (e.g. "Mentee") will identify an area of neuroHIV research with the help of the Program Directors and primary mentor(s). The Research Scholar may either directly approach the potential mentor or may request help from the Program Directors to find a suitable mentor. Once identified, the Research Scholar and mentor will write a brief experimental plan to be conducted over a period of up to 3 months for generation of preliminary data for future submission of an NIH grant (F, K, or R-type). If the Research Scholar is at an institution other than Johns Hopkins University (JHU), they may identify a collaborating mentor at JHU. The Research Scholar can seek training at any institution in the United States for a period of up to three (3) months. The program will reimburse for accommodations and transportation. 

Selection Process

Students who have taken the didactic course will be eligible to apply to the TRNAMH Research Scholars component. They would need to submit an application that has a detailed description of the research project to be undertaken (1-2 pages),  their curriculum vitae (CV), and letters of support from their primary mentors and co-mentors. Each application will be evaluated and approved by the Executive committee. The criteria for evaluation will be based on a scale of 1-10 (1-2: outstanding; 2-3 excellent; 3-4 very good; 4-5: good; 5-6: acceptable; >6: unacceptable). Criteria for evaluation will include: 1) innovation, 2) experimental approach, 3) mentoring plan, and 4) expected outcome. 

Long-term Mentoring

The purpose of the proposal and evaluation process is to ensure an individualized long-term research mentoring relationship. The concept of co-mentors will be encouraged. This will help develop interdisciplinary programs and will also help train junior mentors in the art of mentoring. Research Scholars who come from other universities will need to identify appropriate mentors at their respective institutions to ensure that their research could then be continued at their institutions. Mentors at JHU will continue to assist them as their research evolves. Thus, the relationship between the mentors and mentee will extend past the 6-month research experience, and the mentors at JHU will assume the role of “distant” mentors for the mentee and collaborators for the mentors located at other universities. We have found that mentees with families found it difficult to come to JHU for extended periods of time, hence we have made this requirement flexible whereby they may come for shorter periods of time and may come more than once as dictated by their project, and decided by their mentors.

Research Scholar Goal

The ultimate goal of the Research Scholar component is to establish a network of mentors across the county that the Research Scholar can collaborate with on current and future research projects to further the fields of NeuroHIV and HIV/AIDS-related mental health disparities.


To ensure high quality interactions between all mentees and mentors at each of the institutions, guidelines and evaluation tools have been developed for both the mentees and mentors. We will also use an online web-based format for regular meetings with the distance mentors for continued interactions. This is a critical part of the training program.

For inquiries, please contact the Program Administrator, Heather Thomas via email: 

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