Medical Student Elective in HIV Psychiatry

The Medical Student Elective in HIV Psychiatry provides an opportunity for fourth year medical students to participate in a month-long clinical 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 APA Foundation Medical Student Summer Mentoring Program is supported by funds from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), under the Minority Fellowship Program.

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*Please review all requirements listed below before applying.

Application Deadline

  • The 2021 elective application cycle is closed. Please check back in December, 2021 for more information.

About the Elective

The elective will include an intensive, four week online training Monday, August 30 – Friday, September 25, 2021 Topics included in the training will cover neuropsychiatric complications of HIV, sociocultural aspects of HIV and health disparities, somatic complaints, mood disorders, treating co-occurring substance use disorders, and more. The rotation will include clinical supervision; a minimum of 12 hours of academic experience per week, community-based outreach; time with a non-psychiatric provider; and a case study submission focused on a case write-up from the rotation. Previous elective iterations have included faculty from institutions like Harvard University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Stanford University, Howard University, Beth-Israel Medical Center, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Individuals selected for this program will be required to attend the four (4) week virtual training during the dates noted above.

The heart of the program is in establishing a mentor relationship at one of several virtual sites, becoming involved with a cohort of medical students interested in HIV medicine/psychiatry, participating in an interactive didactic/experiential online learning program, and moving students toward 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.


  • Participate in an intensive four-week training in HIV AIDS Psychiatry in a virtual, interactive setting. The 2021 dates for this program are August 30 – September 25, 2021.


  • Establishment of a role model and mentor in the field of HIV AIDS psychiatry
  • Participation in an interactive didactic/experiential learning program
  • Development of a better understanding of how psychiatrists prevent, research, and treat HIV-related mental illnesses
  • Opportunity to expand circle of professional contacts for future networking

Number of Awards

Thirty awardees per year, pending funding


Four-week academic rotation (Monday, August 30 – Friday, September 25, 2021)


  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Must be currently enrolled in an accredited U.S. medical school. You must maintain your active enrollment status for the duration of the program.
  • Must have access to a computer and reliable internet connection.

Application Requirements

  • Complete online application form
  • Upload a current Curriculum Vitae
  • Upload a letter of interest (no more than two pages) describing your previous experiences in HIV, mental health and public health and how this elective will help you in your career choices.
  • Obtain and upload a letter from medical school's Dean's office indicating:
    • the applicant is a medical student in good academic standing
    • the applicant will be available to participate in the training and rotation during the dates listed above
    • the applicant's current liability/malpractice insure extends to the rotation
  • Obtain and upload a letter of recommendation from a psychiatrist, physician or faculty member who has worked with you and/or is familiar with your clinical interests. Your letter should be a signed statement and include dates during which you worked together.

Program Requirements

  • Complete a pre-program evaluation
  • Attend the online didactic and group discussion sessions
  • Complete a minimum of 12 hours of academic coursework per week
  • Submit a program report with guidance from your mentor outlining your clinical program experiences
  • Submit a case write-up of a patient encountered during the rotation
  • Adhere to the clinical program institution guidelines
  • Complete a post-program evaluation

Funding Statement

Funding for this initiative was made possible (in part) by Grant No. 1H79SM080388-01. from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human ServicesÍž nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


  • o The elective format and setting are subject to change in relation to APA's travel policies.

Contact Us

If you have questions please contact us at or by phone at 202-459-9782.

It has truly shifted the trajectory of my career path, and I can't wait to integrate what I learned here into my own patient care one day.

Medical Student Virtual HIV Elective Alum, 2020

I enjoyed meeting health care experts known for their fields and who have extensive experience throughout the history of the AIDS pandemic give presentations and their insights.

Medical Student Virtual HIV Elective Alum, 2020

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