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.

Apply Today

Application Deadline

  • April 1, 2020 at 11:59 PM (Eastern Time)

Award Notification

  • May 1, 2020

About the Elective

The elective will begin with an intensive, two-day training Thursday, August 27 – Friday, August 28, 2020 at the APA main office in Washington, D.C. Topics included in the training will cover neuropsychiatric complications of HIV, somatic complaints, mood disorders, treating co-occurring substance use disorders, and more. Students then travel to their assigned sites and begin a 4-week (August 31 to September 25, 2020) clinical and/or research experience. The rotation will include clinical supervision; a minimum of 12 hours of clinical experience per week (inpatient and/or outpatient); community-based outreach; time with a non-psychiatric provider; and a case study submission focused on a case write-up from the rotation. Previous sites have included 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 training in DC and the four (4) week rotation during the dates noted above.

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 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.

Students are selected through a competitive process and receive a stipend upon completing all program requirements, including the case study.


  • Participate in an intensive two-day training in HIV AIDS Psychiatry in Washington, D.C. and a month long clinical/research program. The 2020 dates for this program are August 27 – September 25, 2020.
  • Students will receive a stipend of $2,700 that will cover the following:
    • travel to APA for the intensive two-day training, meals, transportation and accommodations
    • travel to clinical site, meals, transportation and accommodations for the duration of the rotation
    • any additional incidentals


  • 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

Six awardees per year, pending funding


Two days in Washington DC (Thursday, August 27 – Friday, August 28, 2020) followed by a four-week clinical rotation (August 31 – September 25, 2020)


  • 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 be available to attend training in Washington D.C. and complete full rotation during the dates listed above.

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 off-site 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

  • 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 site/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.


  • Medical students are responsible for arranging travel and housing for the training in DC and at the clinical site location.
  • Students will be provided with a stipend after completion of the program to cover costs associated with travel, housing, and incidentals. This stipend cannot exceed $2,700.

Contact Us

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

The program was a wonderful experience and I am excited and humbled to be selected for the program.

John Smith, Medical Student HIV Elective Alum

The psychotherapy seminar was really poignant and informative and elucidated the unique challenges that survivors of the HIV/AIDS epidemic still wrestle with today.

Brittany Tarrant, Medical Student HIV Elective Alum

Application Reources

Become a Medical Student Member

Learn about the benefits of APA Membership.

Join Now