International Traineeships in AIDS Prevention Studies (ITAPS)

The International Traineeships in AIDS Prevention Studies program (ITAPS) is a training program for international scientists. Its mission is to provide training and conduct research on the prevention of HIV transmission in low- and middle-income countries. Since its inception in 1988, the program has trained 264 scientists from 48 countries. The Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS), in conjunction with the Institute for Global Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), conducts the ITAPS program. ITAPS works within UCSF's Global Strategic Information (GSI) as its Training and Education branch.

The ITAPS faculty and program are available to support UCSF and other programs that require assistance with research protocol development, data analysis and/or scientific writing.

We currently offer three programs in the field of HIV prevention research:

Mentoring-of-Mentors Program

3-4 ITAPS alumni are selected each year to receive intensive training in mentorship skills and subsequently to serve as mentors for participants in the Scientific Manuscript Writing Program. In the following year(s) they are expected to mentor early career investigators in their home countries and regions.

Scientific Manuscript Writing Program

A course focused on the preparation of study results for publication in peer-reviewed scientific literature with support from UCSF mentors. Ten new and returning investigators are invited each year to prepare scientific manuscripts, with instruction and mentoring provided by the Mentoring-of-Mentors participants as well as UCSF faculty.

Grant Writing Program

One or two successful ITAPS alumni are selected each year to work with UCSF faculty to prepare NIH or other grant applications.

ITAPS trainees are selected each year in an open application process to work with UCSF faculty mentors through both distance and in-person training. Visiting scientists develop research protocols and scientific manuscripts for research in their home countries. Program alumni are physicians, nurses, epidemiologists, psychologists, pharmacists, laboratory scientists, health educators and other health professionals working in university, government and community settings. All have prior experience in AIDS prevention and/or care. Applicants are expected to have a doctoral or other advanced degree in their field of study and be natives in residence in their home countries or regions.

Our program faculty and staff are fluent in a number of languages including Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Hindi and Farsi. However, instruction and seminars are conducted in English. Because of this, visiting scientists must have a good working knowledge of English, both spoken and written.

In addition to the three programs, ITAPS also partners with countries and non-government organizations to offer training workshops in resource-limited settings on a variety of topics, including scientific manuscript writing, research methods and proposal writing, and data analysis and presentation. Recently ITAPS has partnered with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) to train scientists within the IAVI network in mentoring skills and scientific manuscript writing.

For more information about the ITAPS program, partnering with ITAPS, and in-country training opportunities contact ITAPS Program Manager, Ritu Sehgal (Ritu.Sehgal@ucsf.edu).

ITAPS is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (R25MH064712; George Rutherford, PI). Additional support for visiting scientists is provided through the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (P30MH062246; Marguerita Lightfoot, PI) and the Starr Foundation.