Medical Student Elective In HIV


The Medical Student Elective in HIV Psychiatry was established in 2004 by APIRE (a 501C3 subsidiary of the American Psychiatric Association) to provide an opportunity for 4th year medical students to participate in a month-long clinical or research elective in HIV psychiatry at one of several prominent universities across the country. This program was created to foster the participation of medical students (particularly from racial and ethnic minorities) in HIV-related care and research, and provide them with a means of obtaining essential HIV-related mental health training through an integrated approach to patient care.

The elective begins with an intensive, two-day training in Washington, DC. Topics range from neuropsychiatric complications of HIV, somatic complaints, and mood disorders to special patient populations including people with substance use disorders and/or those suffering from severe mental illnesses. Training modalities include a combination of lectures, role playing, case vignettes and simulations, open discussion and first-person accounts through interviews with HIV positive people. Students then travel to their assigned sites and begin a month-long clinical and/or research experience. The typical clinical program includes clinical supervision; a minimum of 12 hours of clinical experience per week (inpatient and outpatient); community-based outreach; time with a non-psychiatric provider; and an independent study project. Participating sites have included the following academic centers: Harvard University; Columbia University; Cornell University; Stanford University; Howard University; Beth-Israel Medical Center; and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The program will run from August 29 to September 25, 2015.

The heart of the program is in establishing a mentor relationship at one of several training sites, becoming involved with a cohort of medical students interested in HIV medicine/psychiatry, participating in an interactive didactic/experiential learning program, and moving students towards high achievement in the area of HIV-related mental health research or psychiatric services. Mentors stay in touch with students over time, offering guidance as they progress in their careers. Students are selected through a competitive process and receive a stipend. The application process for the 2015 elective has been closed.

View the listing of other Minority Fellowships Program (MFP) programs.