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July 26, 2019 - Watch the Video: ATN Diversity Scholar Melissa Marzan-Rodriguez, PhD

To foster diversity in science and help more early-stage researchers from diverse backgrounds develop their careers in youth HIV prevention and care, the ATN launched the Diversity Scholars program in 2018. Melissa Marzan-Rodriguez, PhD, MPH, is a researcher at the University of Puerto Rico and a diversity scholar. Diversity scholars are matched with mentors within the ATN, who help develop the early-stage researchers' careers. 

Watch the video (click the play button below, or view the video here) for Dr. Marzan-Rodriguez’s perspective on how young researchers are working towards the end of the HIV epidemic, and her research within Puerto Rican communities and young men who have sex with men (MSM) using E-health HIV prevention tools. 

Watch the video and see the text transcript below.


See more about the Diversity Scholars program here.



We are a generation of a researchers that we can see the end of the epidemic, so I think that is a way that right now we need to think about a world without HIV, and a world without HIV also means that we have so many learning experiences that maybe we can translate to other public health issues.

My name is Melissa Marzan. I’m a Latina woman born, raised and living in Puerto Rico. Working with a cultural adaptation of a E-health intervention with adolescent MSM (men who have sex with men) in Puerto Rico. So, right now I’m a post-doctoral research fellow in Puerto Rico and I would like to continue my research career as an independent researcher and specifically focus on HIV prevention strategies for youth communities in the Latina context, and specific with their, where they are Spanish speakers, like people from Puerto Rico.

I think that when I start my career as a public health researcher in HIV, I didn’t see how social justice is the pathway to create my research career. When you are working with communities and you empower communities, I think that this is the most important thing that you can do as a researcher.

I see the diversity scholar program, this opportunity to connect with other colleagues in the US who will also work with HIV and I think that is the way to connect with them and try to explore new opportunities to continue my research career.