Shortly after my arrival to NYU Rory Meyers on Monday, my advisor was able to joyfully inform me that the International Research Board (IRB) approved another large series of documents from our study, meaning that we are making great progress in preparation for our second round of participant recruitment. I was assigned to look through and sort all of the IRB approved documents in efforts to update the Project YESS archive that holds all of the crucial study documents such as recruitment flyers, participant screening tests, and assent/consent forms while also informing my advisor what remaining documents still need to be approved by the IRB before embarking on the next phase of recruitments. After completing that task, the Principle Investigator (PI) emailed me to assist her in conducting preliminary research on how relationships between romantic partners impact their HIV prevention efforts for the rest of my day.
On Tuesday, I continued to immerse myself into research pertaining to the connection between factors in romantic relationships such as trust, communication, and people’s efforts in seeking HIV prevention. During this research process, I also explored existing programs and organizations that have been referred in my research that provide STD/STI and sexual health services in efforts to contribute to the reduction of HIV infection risk among Black and Latino/a youth. Additionally, I helped contribute to a group literature review with all of the project staff to help research articles that assess the process of recruiting couples into sexual health studies. We were particularly interested in what does and does not encourage young coupes from joining studies in order to identify possible strategies we can utilize once we begin recruiting again. Lastly, I assisted in evaluating interview responses from our participants from the first phase of the study to help identify any key responses that demonstrated a link between a couples relationship status and willingness to participate in a sexual health study. This was in order to help the PI of Project YESS prepare for a presentation that she was planned to administer later that week at Columbia University to discuss progress that had been made so far and any further steps that need to be taken in the study.
On Thursday, I continued to undergo my literature review on relationship dynamics and HIV prevention efforts and research existing HIV reduction institutions for Black and Latino youth. After working off-site for a while, I was delighted to see that the PI of the study I’m working at payed me a visit. We had a check-in meeting where she looked over the progress I made on the literature review while also giving some tips to spark up my research techniques in the future such as condensing my research findings and interpreting qualitative figures presented in studies.
Project YESS has come one step closer to starting phase 2 of the study. Soon before we know it, we will be on the streets of Upper Manhattan and South Bronx to talk to young minorities and gather some more crucial data. I am incredibly honored to take part in such a large effort to bring about change in the lives of young minorities and promote awareness about sexual health!!