PhD Candidate Jane Lee Awarded NIMH R36 Mental Health Research Dissertation Grant

Jane Lee
Jane Lee

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) awarded NYU Silver School of Social Work PhD Candidate Jane Lee a R36 Mental Health Research Dissertation Grant to Increase Diversity. This competitive grant provides funding to doctoral candidates from underrepresented groups to pursue research careers in areas that align with NIMH’s research mission.

PhD Program Director Vincent Guilamo-Ramos: "Receipt of the NIH R36 grant mechanism represents a significant scientific accomplishment in the career trajectory of a doctoral candidate. Jane’s dissertation was rigorously evaluated by an external group of esteemed senior scientists who deemed her proposal as meritorious of NIH funding. Jane represents the strong caliber of NYU Silver School PhD program students and next generation of top social welfare researchers and scholars."

Jane’s dissertation project, Enhancing HIV Testing among Disengaged Immigrants: Contextual and Opportunity Structures, targets Latino immigrants in the United States who comprise a large and growing population that is at risk for HIV infection. Jane is focusing on the largely immigrant neighborhood of Corona in Queens, New York, and seeks to identify factors that influence decision-making around HIV testing. Latino immigrants get tested later in their HIV disease progression but have been largely neglected in focused prevention and treatment efforts. "HIV testing is an important first step in linking undiagnosed, HIV-positive individuals to care and achieving viral suppression," said Jane.

"Social, political, and economic factors shape the context in which immigrants can access health services such as HIV testing," she added. With recent shifts in the health care environment, greater understanding of how immigrants perceive their level of access to care may present strategies for increasing HIV testing among this population."

Jane’s dissertation seeks to inform future prevention interventions that take into account the impact of macro-level shifts and migration-related factors that form immigrants’ contexts in HIV "hot spots."

Jane has worked closely with investigators at the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH) and the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR). "My mentors have elevated the science behind my project and encouraged me to push the boundaries. Without the strong contribution of the team, competitive science is much more difficult to achieve," Jane noted. "My dissertation chair Dr. Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, and my mentors Drs. James Jaccard, Jennifer Manuel, Marya Gwadz, and Michele Shedlin have been invaluable in their guidance and support. I am also grateful to Drs. Sherry Deren and Holly Hagan who have allowed me to take advantage of the resources at CDUHR and exposed me to transdisciplinary training and consultation on optimal research designs and methods for HIV research."

The goal of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), issued by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), is to increase the diversity of the mental health research workforce by providing awards to support the completion of the doctoral research project and dissertation for individuals from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in mental health research.