Behavioral Sciences Research in HIV Infection

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Behavioral Sciences Research in HIV Infection


Our program is a postdoctoral research training program that provides intensive training in human sexuality research as applied to HIV prevention and HIV-related health interventions. The major components of our program are academic course work, the development of research and professional skills, and the conduct of independent research.

The training program is closely tied to the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at the New York State Psychiatric Institute / Columbia University Department of Psychiatry.

Program Goals

The principal goals of the program are to:

  • provide systematic training in human sexuality research as applied to HIV primary prevention, secondary prevention, and mental health issues related to HIV transmission and infection,
  • research methodologies and statistical analysis relevant to human sexuality research in HIV prevention and mental health, and
  • the conduct of original research including preparation of publications and acquisition of grant support, to prepare graduates for the assumption of independent research careers.

We accomplish these goals by matching fellows with HIV Center faculty members who serve as research preceptors and who oversee the design and implementation of trainee research projects. In addition, trainees participate in a variety of conferences, workshops, lectures, and consultations held at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, the School of Public Health, and the Columbia University Health Sciences Campus. By the end of training, fellows will have developed and implemented a research project under the supervisor of their preceptor, conducted data analysis, prepared first-authored manuscripts based on study data, presented study findings at in-house and outside scientific meetings, and applied for funding to support an independent research career after training.

Program Provisions

Each fellow is provided with a training stipend, and limited funds for travel and general research training costs associated with the fellowship. All recipients of NIH research fellowships must sign an agreement with the NIH that they will fulfill a "service payback" commitment in return for their postdoctoral support. Under the provisions of this commitment, postdoctoral fellows in the first 12 months of their training program will incur an obligation which can be satisfied by an additional 12 months of NIH-supported research training or an equal number of months of health-related research or teaching. Individuals completing two years of postdoctoral support have no further service obligations stemming from postdoctoral support. Trainees who complete less than two years of training may be liable for a financial payback obligation for part or all NIH-funded training.


Trainees must have received their doctorate (or medical) degree at the time of appointment, demonstrate a commitment to a career in human sexuality and HIV research, and have a record of academic excellence. To be appointed to the program applicants must be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals of the United States, or must have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (i.e., in possession of a currently valid Alien Registration Receipt Card I-551, or must be in possession of other legal verification of such status). Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible. Candidates who are members of a minority ethnic group are strongly encouraged to apply. We are an equal opportunity employer.

Application Process

Anyone interested in the Fellowship Program should contact for further information.

Program Director: Theo Sandfort, Ph.D.

Program Co-Directors: Claude Ann Mellins, Ph.D., and John Santelli, M.D., M.P.H.

Training Co-Director: Katherine Elkington, Ph.D.

For more information, please visit our website.