The major goal of the UAB Public Health/Biomedical Research Training Program (UAB MHIRT) is to train and promote the professional development and participation of underrepresented minority students in international biomedical and behavioral research. This will contribute to the cadre of researchers engaged in tackling and reducing health disparities in populations. The program will recruit and train 9 undergraduate, 1 professional and 2 master's students annually for five years. Each trainee will be matched with a research project at one of seven foreign sites in four countries: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana;Kumasi South Hospital, Kumasi, Ghana;Center for the Studies of Sensory Impairment, Aging and Metabolism (CeSSIAM), Guatemala city, Guatemala;INCAP/FANCAP (Institute for Nutrition of Central America and Panama, Guatemala City, Guatemala;Ministry of Health (North-East and Western Regions), Jamaica;and Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH) Lima, Peru. Trainees will receive pre-departure training and post-training follow-up from UAB Faculty Mentors. Pre-departure training will include training in research ethics, cultural orientation and scientific methods such as experimental design, data collection and analysis and use of scientific equipment. Trainee research projects will be based on collaborative research between the sponsoring institution and UAB. Research topics include infectious diseases (HIV, malaria, vaccine-preventable infections), maternal and child health, nutrition, chronic disease (asthma, cancer, hypertension and diabetes) and health care service delivery. Once overseas, each trainee will perform research and collect and manage data under the guidance of a Foreign Mentor. Trainees are required to write a final paper based on their project data under guidance from the UAB and foreign site mentors. This paper may be submitted for presentation at a national conference and for publication. The program is budgeted to cover travel, living and research expenses for trainees, and provide each trainee with a monthly stipend while overseas. UAB Faculty Mentors may travel to the foreign site once each year, and 2 Foreign Mentors may travel to UAB for collaborative work each year.
Trainees will gain experience by conducting research in a different cultural context, and will be encouraged to pursue graduate studies and careers in the field of international health research. The program will help to provide a solid cadre of research personnel that will contribute to alleviating the disparities in health experienced by people in developing countries and underrepresented minorities in the U.S.
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