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National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Awards Cho-Hee Shrader with the Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award

The National Institute of Minority Health Disparities—an institute of the National Institutes of Health—has awarded Cho-Hee Shader, a Ph.D. candidate in Prevention Science and Community Health at the Miller School of Medicine, the Ruth L. Kirschstein F31 Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award.

The award enables promising predoctoral students to obtain individualized, mentored research training from outstanding faculty sponsors while conducting dissertation research in scientific health-related fields relevant to the missions of the participating institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health.

With the support of the award, Shrader will conduct a project on HIV-related disparities of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) on Latinx men who have sex with men who reside in Miami. Currently, only six percent of the population are enrolled in a PrEP program in Miami-Dade County.

“The findings of this study will lead the development of a clinical trial to test a PrEP information dissemination model implemented within Latino men who have sex with men social networks to identify hubs capable of addressing HIV disparities experienced in HIV hotspots,” Shrader said.

The project will use the Social Network Theory of Homophily—which states that people who are similar on certain attributes will share health-related information—to explain how PrEP-related information can travel within networks. In the research component of the project, Shrader will conduct secondary data analyses using data from the NIH-funded Centers for AIDS Research (CFAR) Adelante, combined with data specifically collected for her project.

CFAR Adelante is an initiative that is working with other NIH Centers for AIDS and Research to advance HIV research in Latinx communities by providing mentored development to early-career investigators whose research focuses on decreasing HIV-related health disparities among Hispanic/Latino people.

“Receiving this prestigious F31 award is a wonderful opportunity for me to receive the relevant training and experiences for my career as an independent scientist,” Shrader said.

“I am grateful to have the support of such a strong team of sponsors and a senior advisory committee,” she added. “Together, they will train me in social network analysis, geospatial analyses, and comprehensive client-centered and culturally responsive clinical research to target the intertwining epidemics of HIV and substance use among Latino men who have sex with men.”

Shrader’s primary sponsors are the Miller School’s Mariano Kanamori, Ph.D., assistant professor, and Adam Carrico, Ph.D., professor and director of the Division of Prevention Science and Community Health, both from the Department of Public Health Sciences. Her co-sponsors include Susanne Doblecki-Lewis, M.D., M.S.P.H., associate professor of clinical medicine at the Miller School, and Justin Stoler, associate professor in the Department of Geography and Regional Studies at the University of Miami’s College of Arts and Sciences.

“I am very proud that Cho-Hee has received this prestigious award. This is the result of a three-year mentoring plan that includes a research project that will contribute towards her publications, research presentations, and her involvement with the community,” Dr. Kanamori said. “She will have the opportunity to conduct a research project, while receiving the training that she needs to conduct these analyses.”

Cho-Hee’s research is innovative and timely. Miami-Dade county has one of the highest incidence of new HIV infections in the US and Latino men who have sex with men are disproportionately affected. This type of research is urgently needed. Cho-Hee is the ideal candidate to take on this project- I personally saw how hard she worked through the development of the F31 grant proposal. I am proud to be her mentor.

Shrader’s senior advisory committee include University of Miami’s Guillermo “Willy” Prado, Ph.D., vice provost for faculty affairs, dean of the Graduate School, and professor of nursing and health studies, public health sciences, and psychology. The committee also includes Seth Schwartz, Ph.D., professor at the Department of Public Health Sciences, and Steven Safren, Ph.D., professor and director of the UM Center for HIV and Research in Mental Health, as well as the Health Promotion and Care Research Program.

“I am so excited for this fellowship award. Dr. Kanamori has been the most wonderful mentor for me throughout this experience. He has provided me with a plethora of opportunities that have prepared me for this training program,” Shrader added. “I am looking forward to training further with him, Dr. Carrico, Dr. Doblecki-Lewis, and Dr. Stoler. I really have a dream team of sponsors.”

Written by Amanda Torres
Published on November 3, 2020