Posted by Lucile Scott, September 18, 2014
For the third consecutive year the GMT Initiative is teaming up with the Center for LGBT Health Research of the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh to offer scholarships for four researchers from low- and middle-income countries to learn more about HIV prevention and care programs among GMT. The four amfAR HIV scholars will undertake five months of graduate level public health study at the Pittsburgh campus. Course topics include LGBT health research, research methods, and grant writing. The scholarships include round-trip travel to the U.S., housing, and a modest stipend.
The program aims to strengthen GMT community-based research and responses to HIV, often in areas where little data about HIV among GMT currently exists and where stigma and discrimination deter many GMT from seeking HIV testing and services. By the end of their stay, scholars will have not only improved their research skills, but also drafted a proposal for researching and implementing culturally appropriate strategies to improve HIV services in their respective regions that they will present to amfAR staff for potential funding.
“The strategies that work best for addressing HIV are those developed by community-based scholars and activists, and they have to have research data or their brilliant strategies won’t get funding,” says Dr. Ron Stall, chair of the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at Pitt Public Health. “The scholars are local heroes often doing this work at great risk to themselves, and we invest in them to help them get their programs off the ground.”
amfAR’s 2014 scholars are Friedel L. Dausab from the Society for Family Health in Windhoek, Namibia; Kiromiddin Gulov from Equal Opportunities in Dushanbe, Tajikistan; Macland Njagi from IshtarMSM in Nairobi, Kenya; and Dr. Vorapot Sapsirisavat from HIV-NAT/Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre in Bangkok, Thailand. With amfAR’s support, each of these scholars are now conducting GMT-specific research back home and helping expand the international health field’s understanding of HIV epidemics in those contexts. “What amfAR is doing is really important and innovative,” says Dr. Sapsirisavat. “You can’t stop HIV in the developing world without investing in community-based research.”
Find out how to apply here.