Information for HIV/AIDS Researchers

Undergrad

Be a self-starter. Find out which faculty members volunteer in the community or do AIDS research. Try to volunteer as a research assistant or take part in community efforts. These are good ways to learn more about AIDS and the problems associated with HIV--drugs alcohol, sex and other psychological problems. Think about the health care system, stigma, and the economics of prevention and treatment. Identify faculty who have a reputation for mentoring their students and work with them to assist in your career development. Participate sufficiently so that you can become a co-author on publications. (This could be money in the bank for graduate school.)

Principles for Quality Undergraduate Education in Psychology

The following principles for undergraduate education in psychology are designed for creating:

  • A world-class educational system that provides students with the workplace skills needed in this information age;
  • A solid academic background that prepares them for advanced study in a wide range of fields; and
  • The knowledge, skills, and abilities that will enhance their personal lives.

A quality undergraduate education is designed to produce psychologically literate citizens who apply the principles of psychological science at work and at home. We urge all stakeholders in undergraduate education in psychology to incorporate these principles in establishing goals and objectives that fit their specific institutional needs and missions.

  • Principle 1: Students Are Responsible for Monitoring and Enhancing Their Own Learning
  • Principle 2: Faculty Strive to Become Scientist–Educators Who Are Knowledgeable About and Use the Principles of the Science of Learning
  • Principle 3: Psychology Departments and Programs Create a Coherent Curriculum
  • Principle 4: Academic Administrators Support and Encourage Quality Practices in Teaching and Learning
  • Principle 5: Policymakers and the General Public Need to Understand Why Psychological Literacy is Necessary for Informed Citizens and an Effective Workforce
  • Conclusions
  • References

The National Conference on Undergraduate Education in Psychology: A Blueprint for the Future of Our Discipline.

Student Resources for Undergraduate Education

Written for the American Psychological Association's Office on AIDS by Dr Mitnick, PhD. Dr. Mitnick joined the APA Office on AIDS as a volunteer in February of 1999. For 15 years, he served at the National Institute of Mental Health as the Associate Director for the AIDS Program.

Graduate

Find schools and departments where faculties are doing HIV/AIDS research. Look for faculty who will provide the breadth and context of psychology, as well as depth in the HIV/AIDS field. Identify sources of support such as Fellowships, training grants, and/or research grants. Begin involvement in research and community activities as early as possible. Do more than one project because overspecialization early in one's career could be a problem. Attend professional meetings and write papers for poster sessions. If supported by research or training grants apply for competitive individual fellowships to learn the grant application and review process. Contact staff at federal agencies to learn how to network effectively with them. Thoroughly read and understand the grant announcements to be well prepared to ask specific questions. Network with fellow graduate students, postdoctoral students, and faculty to discuss the nuances of the program announcement. Discuss specific research ideas to learn how to contact the right people.

Please view the APA Education Directorate’s website focusing on Graduate and Postgraduate Education and Training for more information.

Resources

Written for the American Psychological Association's Office on AIDS by Dr Mitnick, PhD. Dr. Mitnick joined the APA Office on AIDS as a volunteer in February of 1999. For 15 years, he served at the National Institute of Mental Health as the Associate Director for the AIDS Program. 

Doctoral

Re-envisioning the PhD.

This site provides resources aimed to help doctoral students complete their programs, develop themselves as professionals, and prepare for their post-academic careers while still in graduate school. The skills doctoral students need and stages they pass through in the course of completing their programs are grouped in roughly chronological order, beginning with "Entering into a Doctoral Program" and progressing through to "Dissertations." Additional resources are at the bottom of the page.

Written for the American Psychological Association's Office on AIDS by Dr Mitnick, PhD. Dr. Mitnick joined the APA Office on AIDS as a volunteer in February of 1999. For 15 years, he served at the National Institute of Mental Health as the Associate Director for the AIDS Program. 

Postdoctoral

Plan ahead. Network with researchers who have research grants and/or training grants. Before contacting an individual, become familiar with their research; read a description of past and current research. If you have heard them speak or read their work, tell them that is why you are contacting them. Use email to briefly describe your research interests and ask if this is appropriate for them. If they are not in the specific research field of interest, perhaps they can direct you to someone who is. In addition, indicate that you will be calling to amplify your ideas and get suggestions from them as to who else you might want to contact. Send a curriculum vitae no longer than two pages which you can amplify during the telephone call. It is important to look for a good fit between your interests and theirs.

If you are accepted as a postdoctoral trainee try to narrow down the research you want to do this will give you a head start when you enter the program. Also be open to other opportunities in HIV/AIDS and other areas of psychology. Focused expertise is critical, but remember you will have to operate in the real world where general knowledge is also highly valued. Become aware of the myriad of grant programs for which you might be eligible. Start by looking for small grants to gather pilot data that will serve for larger grants. Grant announcements include eligibility criteria. Be mindful that large grants may be difficult to obtain without much administrative or supervisory experience. Use mentors and colleagues to serve as a review committee before submitting a proposal. Ask Federal program staff if they would be willing to read a summary of what you propose. By following these simple words of advice you will greatly improve your capability in becoming a leader in the field of HIV/AIDS.

Directories

The online Directory of Internship and Postdoctoral Programs in Professional Psychology published by the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) is a great resources for those looking to gain experience.

The APPIC Directory lists internship and postdoctoral programs in the United States and Canada. There are a large number of parameters to choose from when conducting searches using this directory, including HIV/AIDS specialty opportunities. You may select any combination of parameters. Unless otherwise indicated, results will include only those programs that meet search criteria.

Written for the American Psychological Association's Office on AIDS by Dr Mitnick, PhD. Dr. Mitnick joined the APA Office on AIDS as a volunteer in February of 1999. For 15 years, he served at the National Institute of Mental Health as the Associate Director for the AIDS Program.