Thinking globally and acting locally is a metaphor for the program we put forth, emphasizing our recognition of global health disparity issues that plague the United States and many countries of the world and the need to train local research scientists to face the myriad of problems that collectively constitute health disparities. Investigators at the University of Arizona (UA) have a long history of international collaborations focusing on health disparity problems. It is that strength coupled with those of our international collaborators that have been at the core of our efforts to provide qualified students with the requisite training needed to deal with these issues. This proposal acknowledges that recruitment of underrepresented minority trainees to study health disparity issues can and should begin before students matriculate from high school through outreach programs to local schools with high minority enrollments. This proposal describes a plan by which qualified UA students prepare to address health disparity issues in the nation and around the world. The program, called Biomedical Research Abroad: Vistas Openl/MHIRT (BRAVOI/MHIRT), enables trainees to build upon ongoing biomedical and behavioral research efforts at the UA that will translate into a focus related to health disparities. Trainees will be encouraged to: 1) develop critical thinking skills related to their research endeavor;2) examine their research in the context of the foreign environment in which they work and as it is relates to health disparities both there and in the US;3) develop confidence and independence of thought that will enhance their problem solving ability both abroad and at home;4) think about how scientific networking on a global scale enhances research outcomes;and, 5) think about what their scientific effort will mean in the long term as they plan their futures. Specifically, this program will support ten trainees annually-eight undergraduate trainees and two graduate or health professions trainees. Each trainee will spend ten to twelve weeks, or a semester, at the foreign site involved in research that relates to the reduction of health disparities.
This project will improve public health by providing ten underrepresented trainees per year with the tools to assess and address research questions and issues that are related to reduction of health disparities. Trainees will examine commonalities between health disparities in the U.S. and other countries which will shape their own professional futures.
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