Skip to main content


The Training Program in Translational Science, HIV, and Sexual and Gender Minority Health (NU-THRIVE)  is based at  Northwestern University’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing (ISGMH), within the institute’s THRIVE Center. The program is funded by a T32 grant from the National Institutes of Health (Grant Number: T32MH130325) and enrolls three postdoctoral fellows each year for two-year appointments.  Trainees receive primary and secondary mentorship from faculty at ISGMH and Feinberg School of Medicine and across Northwestern University.

NU-THRIVE postdoctoral fellows learn to be successful translational scientists. Fellows receive training in each of the domains of translational science from basic science discovery, including qualitative and quantitative research methods; to taking the data from those studies to develop interventions; to then eventual implementation of interventions into the community. Fellows will come out of the NU-THRIVE training program with knowledge of the whole translational science spectrum and will have the opportunity to specialize in two translational domains.

As reflected by the interdisciplinary nature of our training faculty, we welcome and encourage applicants from numerous academic disciplines, including (but not limited to) public health, medicine, psychology, sociology, social work, and communications. Medical residents seeking one-year research fellowships are also encouraged to apply.

The NU-THRIVE training curriculum is diverse and was designed specifically to meet the needs of the next generation of translational scientists in HIV and SGM health.

  • Mentored research with a primary and secondary mentor, including working on existing research projects and/or proposing new research initiatives. 
  • Bi-annual intensive trainings in our four translational science domains: quantitative methods, qualitative methods, interventions and trials, and implementation science. 
  • A weekly seminar that rotates between presentations on: research skills, professional development, faculty presentations, and works in progress. 
  • Structured writing support, including a weekly writing group and bi-annual writing retreats, designed to improve manuscript and grant writing skills. 

Applications for the program open late summer/early fall each year.

Find open postdoctoral positions

Through the T32, I've had the opportunity to transition from someone who knew nothing about implementation science to an implementation researcher. The T32 has helped me strengthen my qualitative skills, access training in new statistical software, and develop relationships with other fellows who I'll be able to work with into the future.”

alithia zamantakis, PhD

Training Modalities

NU-THRIVE trains postdoctoral fellows in research methods across the translational science spectrum through a rigorous program in which they will specialize in two translational science skill domains and gain breadth of knowledge in all four domains through a formal training curriculum.

Quantitative Methods

  • Population-based datasets and epidemiology 
  • Longitudinal cohorts 
  • Diaries, ecological momentary assessment 
  • Mediation and moderation 
  • Growth modeling 

Qualitative Methods

  • In-depth interviewing and focus groups 
  • Codebook development and refinement 
  • Thematic analysis and grounded theory 
  • Mixed methods

Interventions and Trials

  • Intervention development and mapping 
  • Intervention adaptation 
  • eHealth 
  • Pilot trials 
  • Randomized controlled trials 

Implementation Science

  • Implementation barriers and facilitators 
  • Implementation strategic evaluation 
  • Hybrid trials 
  • Health services research 

The highly interdisciplinary experience of my T32 training has helped me expand my theoretical and methodological skillset, while also offering many meaningful mentorship opportunities.”

Jacob Donald Gordon, PhD

Core Competencies

Postdoctoral fellows in the NU-THRIVE program will also gain knowledge and skills in the following eight core competencies.

Translational science in HIV and SGM health

All fellows will achieve a working knowledge of methods in each of the four translational science skill domains outlined above: Quantitative methods, qualitative methods, interventions and trials, and implementation science. In addition to this breadth of knowledge across all four domains, fellows will specialize in two translational science domains through mentored research experiences to achieve depth of knowledge.

Biopsychosocial drivers of HIV, mental health, and associated comorbidities

Central to the mission of NU-THRIVE, this competency domain includes demonstrated knowledge of: a) HIV continua of prevention and care, b) biopsychosocial drivers of mental health and HIV among SGM, and c) comorbid health and psychosocial factors that may interact to produce a syndemic that drives HIV.

Developmental lifespan and environmental influences on HIV, mental health, and associated comorbidities

Fellows will be expected to demonstrate expertise in applying a developmental lens to SGM health, including understanding unique risk factors for negative health outcomes during different developmental periods and trajectories of change in health-related behaviors and outcomes over time.

Intersectional identities, HIV, and SGM health

Fellows will gain an appreciation of the unique experiences of specific groups of SGM, including differences by sexual identity (e.g., bisexual, pansexual, gay) and gender identity (e.g., transgender, non-binary, cisgender), as well as how multiple identities/factors (e.g., race/ethnicity, SES) intersect to influence health.

Team science

Trainees rarely have opportunities to learn the “how” of science from an administrative perspective, including project management skills, staff supervision, and budget management. Fellows will learn these skills via seminars and mentored experiential research.

Ethics and responsible conduct of research

Fellows will learn principles for conducting clinical research ethically and responsibly, particularly in the domains of HIV, mental health, and SGM health. Special attention will be paid to ethical research principles with marginalized and vulnerable populations, including SGM minors, racial/ethnic minorities, and individual groups within the SGM community.

Writing, dissemination, and grantsmanship

Trainees will learn basic writings skills, as well as specialized training in grant writing (focus on NIH-style proposals). This will be achieved through mentored research experiences, lectures during weekly seminars, weekly writing hours, and bi-annual writing retreats.

Professional and career development

Fellows will gain exposure to myriad professional development skills, including giving effective oral presentations, networking in online and offline settings, navigating the job market, mentoring trainees and junior scientists, and working with underserved populations.


Fellows will select one Primary Mentor and one Secondary Mentor.

Primary Mentors are faculty who focus primarily on HIV, mental health, and/or SGM health. Primary Mentors will guide the research and professional development of fellows during their two-year appointment.

Secondary Mentors come from a range of disciplines and have expertise complementary to the aims of NU-THRIVE but may work outside of or adjacent to HIV and mental health among SGM. The goal of working with a Secondary Mentors is to broaden the each fellow’s training by engaging in a smaller, but substantive, research project (e.g., preparing a manuscript).

Mentors and their translational science expertise are listed below.

Our training program seeks equip the next generation of scholars to understand and mitigate health disparities impacting SGM people. Sexual and gender minorities experience vast health inequities, including in HIV, mental health, substance use, and physical health outcomes. To rapidly address these issues, we need skilled translational scientists who can delineate the mechanistic processes driving disparities, translate findings into interventions, and implement programs with communities.”

Michael Newcomb, PhD, director of the THRIVE Center and postdoctoral training programs