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The Penn Mental Health AIDS Research Center (PMHARC) Developmental Awards Program

The PMHARC seeks applications for its pilot research program. This competitive program will select up to six projects with clear potential to lead to larger, funded research initiatives. All applications will be evaluated for scientific merit, programmatic relevance, utilization of PMHARC Core services and feasibility for completion within one year. The PMHARC will support a broad range of research topics related to the treatment of individuals with serious mental illness and HIV infection. Priority will be given to applications that are responsive to the research priorities of the PMHARC (http://www.med.upenn.edu/pmharc).  Special consideration will be given to applications that include both established investigators and early career investigators. Research strategies may include small feasibility trials and secondary analysis of large data sets.

Potential areas of research include:
  • Treatment of psychiatric disorders among people living with HIV infection who have co-occurring medical conditions-metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancers, HCV, TB, substance use disorders (alcohol and illicit drugs)
  • Studies that focus on the mechanisms underlying psychiatric disorder and treatment efficacy among HIV positive individuals
  • Novel, as well as conventional, treatments and/or interventions of psychiatric conditions to improve access to, and retention in HIV treatment and improved adherence to antiretroviral medications
    • Adaptations of evidence based psychiatric treatment to the unique needs of HIV patient populations
    • Research that links the effective treatment of mental illness among people with HIV infection to improvements in biological   measures of health status
    • Research focused on the treatment of HAND - HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders
    • Studies of interaction effects between psychiatric  and antiretroviral medications

In addition to treatment studies of specific mental illnesses and HIV, studies of health care delivery systems that address the integration of more general screening and treatment of psychiatric disorders and HIV, and the impact of such integrated care on subsequent retention in care and health outcomes would be welcomed.

Funding amount:  $25,000 plus support from PMHARC Cores.  Funds may be used for personnel (including up to 10% of salary for senior investigator), supplies and/or equipment.  

Core Utilization:  Full use of appropriate PMHARC Core services is strongly encouraged and will be viewed as responsive to this announcement.

PMHARC Core Assessments and Repository:  All studies involving human subjects will be expected to utilize a core battery of clinical and lab assessments which, for most projects, will be completed by the Clinical Assessment Core and the Laboratory Biomarkers Core.  Participants will be offered participation in the PMHARC data and specimen repository.

Applications:  Forms and application details can be found at: http://www.med.upenn.edu/pmharc.  

Page limit: Five pages not including the literature cited, budget, budget justifications, and biosketch in NIH format. 

Eligibility: All projects must be led by a member of the Penn Faculty, including Instructors.  Post Docs and Senior Fellows at Penn are also eligible with a faculty sponsor.

Application deadline:  May 1, 2014                                                                 

Approximate start date:  July 1, 2014

Please include the attached cover page and budget page with each application, and submit as a single PDF file attachment to: Jamie Good at jagood@mail.med.upenn.edu. For further information, please contact Dave Metzger, PhD, Director of Developmental Core at dsm@mail.med.upenn.edu.