Well-trained minority health investigators from health disparity (HD) populations are in a position to make a unique impact on the science of eliminating HD. However, there is a shortage of minority HD scientists, especially among nurses, public health practitioners and other health professionals whose training places them in a unique position to address HD. The proposed training program will address these gaps by providing minority undergraduate and second-degree seeking students the opportunity for specialized global HD research training. The overarching aim of the proposed program is to encourage and equip undergraduate nursing, public health and health sciences students and second-degree undergraduate nursing (Accelerated BSN) students to pursue careers in HD research. The two sub-aims are to: 1) equip these students with the skills to conduct culturally competent, ethically responsible global HD research; and 2) provide students with mentorship and support that will ultimately make them more attractive to graduate schools and more likely to succeed as HD researchers. The training program will be strengthened by existing exchange agreements and by two existing centers of excellence at the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies (UMSONHS) - The NIMHD-funded Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research: El Centro (2P60 MD002266) and The PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre for Nursing Human Resources Development and Patient Safety. This infrastructure provides access to an existing network of nursing schools throughout the globe with which the UMSONHS has a strong history of collaboration in research and training. We will partner with 5 institutions in 4 countries - Australia, Chile, the Dominican Republic and Spain - where the UMSONHS has established student study abroad programs and training/research agreements. The program will support 10 trainees per year (8 undergraduates enrolled in nursing, public health or health sciences and 2 Accelerated BSN students). Students will participate in a 3-week Intensive Global Health Disparities Summer Research Institute, immediately followed by an 8-week research experience in the host country. Students will work closely with mentors in the host country and at the UMSONHS during this time to conduct global HD research. Upon return, students will participate in a 1-week seminar where they will share their experiences with one another, learn about and discuss opportunities for graduate studies, and develop a plan to disseminate their research. Students will continue to work with their mentors well beyond this 12-week period to prepare scientific presentations and publications and to apply to graduate school and/or other HD research career opportunities. The program will be evaluated for process and outcome indicators annually, and trainees will be tracked yearly for a period of 7 years to assess program impact on the intermediate and long-term goals of the training: pursuit of graduate studies and a career in HD research (e.g., pursuing a PhD) and success as an HD researcher (e.g., fellowships, presentations, publications, grants).
This proposed training program will address HD by diversifying the pipeline of HD researchers and by increasing this workforce's competencies in implementing culturally informed, rigorous, and ethically responsible approaches to research. Ultimately, this training program aims to contribute to HD science by helping to prepare a new generation of ethnically diverse HD scientists who will make discoveries that can be translated into interventions to eliminate HD locally and globally.