Despite reported economic growth and social transformations there is a national and international 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. The overall purpose of this project by The University of Iowa is to continue to build on our history of health science research training for minority and underserved students in international settings. This program will strengthen these individuals and hopefully the host institution's capacity to conduct clinical, translation and implementation research on public health and basic science areas in three emerging centers of excellence, including the University of The Gambia, Banjul, The Gambia;the Anne Sullivan Center, Lima, Peru and the Center for Health Policy and Public Health at Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
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, annually;(2) broaden the training of these students to encompass international health issues;(3) assist these students to participate in collaborative research initiatives with U.S. and international faculty;(4) increase cultural competency skills in the health sciences;(5) seek innovative approaches to address problems and/or hindrances associated with closing health disparities gaps;and (6) immerse the student in a research environment which provides full exposure to research activities including theoretical modeling, development of hypotheses and design, data collection and analysis, clinical or lab activities, and practical problem solving exercises. This multi-disciplinary program will continue to focus primarily on short-term training, and enhance the student and host country experiences through distance learning technologies and in-country workshops or oversight as much as possible by University of Iowa collaborating mentors. The program will also offer trainees opportunities for continued collaborations with both Iowa and in-country mentors with an end towards publishable research products whenever feasible. The success of the program is founded on the University of Iowa's broad expertise in areas of environmental health and public health and its years of experience training and or collaborating with researchers from the host country institutions.
The MHIRT project is designed to address the persistent problem of health disparities though training students from underrepresented minorities and/or underserved populations in health science research in underserved communities in international settings. Our goal is to improve not just technical expertise in scientific research among these students but to increase cultural sensitivity and competency through recognition of social and environmental determinants of health.
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