Navigating Opportunities, Learning and Potential Threats: Mentee Perspectives on Mentoring in HIV Research

AIDS Behav. 2016 Sep;20 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):258-64. doi: 10.1007/s10461-016-1488-5.


Increasing the diversity of the HIV research workforce remains a priority for research and funding organizations in the US. Mentorship is a vital component for early-career investigators, especially for underrepresented racial/ethnic and sexual minority HIV investigators. These investigators face unique social and structural challenges to developing and fostering mentorship relationships, as well as building a solid foundation for a successful career in HIV research. This article provides a perspective from four Black early-career investigators, supplemented with comments from 15 underrepresented investigators in the US, as they reflect on their needs, challenges, contributions, and successes in finding the right mentor and mentorship environment, balancing the opportunities for, and "threats" to success, as well as providing mentorship to other underrepresented and aspiring HIV investigators. Mentorship programs must address these needs and challenges while building on the strengths of underrepresented HIV investigators in order to improve recruitment, retention and ultimately the pipeline of these researchers.

Keywords: HIV research; HIV workforce; Mentorship; Minority investigators.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / methods*
  • Biomedical Research / organization & administration*
  • Capacity Building*
  • Ethnicity
  • HIV Infections*
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Mentoring*
  • Mentors*
  • Racial Groups
  • Research Personnel
  • Teaching