The purpose of this project application, Hispanic Health Disparities across Cultures in Latin America: Collaborative Research for 21st Century, is to enable the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) to offer short-term international health disparities research opportunities for Hispanic undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in health professions, behavioral science and biomedical science programs. The long term goals of the proposed project, are (1) to encourage undergraduate and graduate trainees from underrepresented (Mexican American-Hispanic) populations to pursue clinical, biomedical and/or behavioral health research careers addressing health disparities; (2) to broaden the research efforts and scientific training of undergraduates and graduate trainees from underrepresented (Mexican American-Hispanic) populations to encompass international health issues; and (3) to assist trainees to participate in U.S. and international collaborative research initiatives that address minority health or health disparities in the United States and globally.
Te specific aims i nclude (a) extending and strengthening ongoing partnerships between UTEP and collaborators at University of Costa Rica (UCR); Universidad Autonoma de los Andes (UNIANDES); Universidad Central del Ecuador (UCE); and two research institutes, Instituto de Investigaciones Cientificas y Servicios de Alta Tecnologia and Instituto Conmemorativo Gorgas de Estudios de la Salud (b) providing research training and a mentored research experience in an international setting to trainees from underrepresented minority groups to facilitate entry into research careers and advance skills in methods to research Hispanic health disparities and (c) integrating MHIRT trainee research experiences with mechanisms to disseminate research findings in public forums and through established scientific channels. The program's rationale and design is to offer a 13-week Summer Research Institute and associated faculty mentoring to develop a potential pool of ethnically diverse Hispanic health disparities researchers by affording them with opportunities to explore the world of research in an international setting while they are undergraduates and/or graduate students pursuing their studies in biomedical, behavioral, clinical or social sciences. The projected number of trainees which will be recruited and retained during the 5 years of project duration will be 40 undergraduate students and 10 graduate students.
Participating MHIRT trainees will engage in research projects that respond to current public health problems in an international setting. This experience is relevant to the field of public health as trainees will be able to identify their contributions to improve public health, address Hispanic health disparities through improved health outcomes, and strengthen U.S. national security through global disease detection, prevention, and control strategies as indicated in the global health objective in Healthy People 2020.