HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 49
to HIV. These social and structural factors
make them vulnerable to HIV. We also have
to understand how these factors contribute
to the risk for HIV. Also, these vulnerabilities
are significant contributors to the health
disparities transgender people face.
This conversation illustrates that while
didactic content is essential in building a
solid foundation of HIV-related knowledge
and skills through mentorship activities, a
transformative learning process is critical to
understand and contextualize the needs of
people living with HIV.
Critical mentorship can also challenge power
dynamics within traditional mentoring relationships
by shifting modes of learning from
a passive method to an active one.11 Having
this critical approach in mind, mentors must
acknowledge how their privilege influences the
mentoring relationship. Furthermore, mentors
also need to recognize the fresh perspectives
their mentees bring. Indeed, mentorship can
empower both mentors and mentees by engaging
with critical self-reflection leading towards
growth and emancipatory learning.
Meeting the Demands through
Mentoring can also facilitate recruitment
and addressing HIV workforce shortages. In
a survey of Academy members, 23 percent
of respondents reported that they intend to
retire from practice within the next 10 years.
Furthermore, approximately 40 percent
of Academy members reported difficulty
hiring experienced HIV providers and
1. Farkas AH, Bonifacino E, Turner R, Tilstra
SA, Corbelli JA. Mentorship of Women in
Academic Medicine: a Systematic
Review. J Gen Intern Med.
2. Metzger AH, Hardy YM, Jarvis C, et al.
Essential elements for a pharmacy
practice mentoring program. Am J Pharm
Educ. 2013;77(2):23. doi:10.5688/
3. Sambunjak D, Straus SE, Marusić A.
Mentoring in academic medicine: a
systematic review. JAMA. 2006 Sep
6;296(9):1103-15. doi: 10.1001/
4. Tuomikoski AM, Ruotsalainen H,
Mikkonen K, Kääriäinen M. Nurses'
experiences of their competence at
mentoring nursing students during clinical
practice: A systematic review of qualitative
studies. Nurse Educ Today.
5. Keller TE, Collier PJ, Blakeslee JE, Logan
K, McCracken K, Morris C. Early career
mentoring for translational researchers:
mentee perspectives on challenges and
issues. Teach Learn Med. 2014;26(3):211216.
6. Hyrkäs K, Shoemaker M. Changes in the
preceptor role: re-visiting preceptors'
perceptions of benefits, rewards, support
and commitment to the role. J Adv Nurs.
7. Yue JJ, Chen G. Competence of pharmacy
mentors: a survey of the perceptions of
pharmacy postgraduates and their
mentors. BMC Med Educ. 2020;20(1):265.
8. Lee, J, Sunderman, HM, Hastings, LJ. The
Influence of Being a Mentor on Leadership
Development: Recommendations for
Curricular and Co-Curricular
Experiences. J Lead Educ. 2019;19:44-60.
9. Hastings, LJ, Griesen, JV, Hoover, RE,
Cresswell, JW, Dlugosh, LL. Generativity
in college students: comparing and
explaining the impact of mentoring. J Coll
Stud Dev. 2015;56(7);651-669. doi:10.1353/
10. Fetterman D, Wandersman A.
Empowerment Evaluation: Yesterday,
Today, and Tomorrow. American Journal
of Evaluation. 2007;28(2):179-198.
11. Weiston-Serdan, T. Critical mentoring: A
practical guide. Stylus Publishing; 2015.
12. Womack VY, Wood CV, House SC, et al.
Culturally aware mentorship: Lasting
impacts of a novel intervention on
academic administrators and faculty. PLoS
One. 2020;15(8):e0236983. doi:10.1371/
13. American Academy of HIV Medicine
(2021 Mar). AAHIVM applauds the
reintroduction of the Help Act [webpage].
Retrieved from https://aahivm.
April 26, 2021.
14. Mathematica Policy Research (2016 Aug).
Gap in supply of HIV clinicians expected
to increase [webpage]. Retrieved from
hiv-specialist. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
pharmacists.13 These findings reflect the landmark
study of HIV provider workforce that illustrated
a small but growing shortage of HIV
providers and pharmacists.14 The study also
underscored the increasing importance of
nurse practitioners and physician assistants
in meeting these shortages.14 Since there are
differences in scope of practice and HIVrelated
education and training among nurse
practitioners and physician assistants, it is
even more imperative to have HIV-mentoring
programs. These mentorship opportunities
can also serve as a pathway of engaging
non-HIV clinicians in HIV care, potentially
providing some relief to the growing shortage.
The Academy's Mentoring
The Academy Mentoring Program provides an
opportunity to connect experienced HIV care
providers to other physicians, nurse practitioners,
physician assistants, and pharmacists
interested in HIV care. This mentorship
program was designed to meet the learning
and professional development needs of both
the mentors and mentees. While the program
was structured to be a one-on-one six-month
mentoring relationship, mentors and mentees
may decide to extend the relationship longer.
The program was also thoughtfully planned
to connect mentors and mentees with similar
interests and backgrounds. This is particularly
relevant in mentorship programs as formal
mentor-mentee relationships can occur across
various socio-cultural identities. Indeed, acknowledging
that dyads match across different
races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender
identities, and professional backgrounds and
experiences is essential since these factors
may play a significant role in the success of the
Mentoring is a collaborative and lifelong
process that fosters professional and personal
growth for both the mentors and mentees.
With the increasing shortage of HIV providers,
mentorship programs are a valuable
solution in encouraging other providers to be
involved in HIV care. Additionally, while mentoring
relationships are often formalized and
designed to facilitate career development and
advance knowledge and skills, mentoring is
also an effective medium in promoting socially
responsible leadership while engaging both
mentors and mentees in critical conversations
about social justice and health equity. Indeed,
mentorship programs can be used to create
safe spaces for meaningful dialogues that
foster learning that is participatory, transformative,
and emancipatory while addressing
the need for more HIV providers. HIV
ROQUE ANTHONY F. VELASCO,
MS, AGPCNP-BC, AAHIVS (he/
him) is a senior nurse practitioner at DAP
Health, a federally qualified health center
in Palm Springs, Calif. He is currently
pursuing a PhD in Nursing at the University of
Colorado Denver-Anschutz Medical Campus. He is a
certified HIV specialist by the American Academy of
HIV Medicine and has been providing care to people
living with HIV since 2010.
WWW.AAHIVM.ORG HIVSPECIALIST JUNE 2021 49
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