The specific aims of this project are to: (1.) Encourage ten undergraduate, graduate and health professions students who are from health disparities populations to pursue careers in basic science, biomedical, clinical, and behavioral health research fields;(2) Broaden the training of these students from health disparities populations to encompass international health issues;(3) Assist these students to participate in collaborative research initiatives with U.S. and international faculty;and, (4) Seek innovative approaches to address problems and/or hindrances associated with closing health disparities gaps. Using the combined resources of the University of Iowa's Initiative for Minority Student Development Program (Iowa Biosciences Advantage program) and the university's Center for International Rural and Environmental Health we will offer a program of 10-12-week short-term international research training opportunities for qualified eligible students each summer for five years. The Iowa Biosciences Advantage program will be a feeder program to identify eligible undergraduate students. Eight trainees will be undergraduate students and two will be graduate or professional students and all will be from populations that are underrepresented in the basic sciences, biomedical, clinical or behavioral research career Fields. MHIRT trainees will be offered research training opportunities at foreign institutions in Poland, Slovakia, Romania, China, and The Gambia, where we have collaborative relationships that have been developed over the last thirteen years through a Fogarty International Center training and research grant. These countries in Central/Eastern Europe present excellent opportunities to learn about issues related to health disparities populations. We will use new capabilities in Information and Communications Technology to assist in matching, monitoring, and evaluating trainees'international research training experiences in these countries. In this proposed program, MHIRT training is viewed as part of a comprehensive program of nurturing and developing individuals from health disparities populations to become productive biomedical and behavioral health researchers.
Because of significant disparities in disease incidence, disease prevalence, morbidity, mortality, and survival rates in health disparities populations, as compared to the health status of the general population, there is a national need to increase the number of well-trained scientists from health disparities and underrepresented populations in the fields of biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and health services research.
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