September 15, 2006
AIDS Mental Health Centers (AMHC) at RCMI-Eligible Institutions
NAMHC Concept Clearance
David M. Stoff, Ph.D.
Assistant Director, Training and Health Disparities Program
Center for Mental Health Research on AIDS
Division of AIDS and Health and Behavior Research
The overall goal of this initiative is to develop HIV/AIDS mental health research (i.e., AIDS Mental Health Centers, AMHC) at the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)-supported Research Centers for Minority Institutions (RCMIs). The RCMI program was mandated by Congress in 1985 to encourage innovative research strategies that would reduce the burden of diseases disproportionately affecting racial and ethnic minority populations. Many RCMIs have ongoing HIV/AIDS research programs that are almost exclusively in the basic/biological sphere with little attention to the mental health arena of HIV/AIDS. The creation of such AMHCs will add the mental health dimension to the RCMI program. The RCMIs are an ideal setting to build mental health HIV/AIDS research, given their research infrastructure, interest in HIV/AIDS research, and common concerns about minority health issues.
The initiative has two phases: (1) planning, recruitment, collaborative linkages, partnerships; (2) research development with exploratory studies. This program strives to augment and strengthen RCMI capabilities needed to address HIV/AIDS mental health issues, especially the causes of HIV disparities in the racial and ethnic minority populations served by these institutions. The initiative aims to help RCMI-supported scientists forge new and more advanced HIV studies in the behavioral, clinical and neuroscience disciplines. The work will galvanize the development of fundable behavioral and CNS-related research by and for racial and ethnic minority HIV scientists.
It is expected that this initiative will facilitate the conduct of high quality, state-of-the-art, federally-funded mental health-related research in the priority areas of the Center for Mental Health Research on AIDS (CMHRA) at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) involving prevention, therapeutics, neuropsychiatry, pathophysiology and other CMHRA priority areas.