The University of Virginia is offering new, international research opportunities to students from underrepresented minorities through a five-year, $1.25 million grant from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities.
The Minority Health International Research Training program at U.Va. will offer eight students – six undergraduates and two graduates – the opportunity to participate in an intensive, international, mentored research experience. They will work for eight weeks next summer at partner sites in South Africa, Uganda and St. Kitts and Nevis on issues identified by those partners.
“The program will provide us with an incredible opportunity to collaborate across schools, disciplines and national boundaries to implement a training program that centers on innovative, rigorous, mentored research projects that address rural health issues,” said Center for Global Health Director Rebecca Dillingham, one of the principal investigators. “This program has tremendous potential to produce positive change in our partner communities and right here at home through the development of future leaders for rural health and through the translation and application of research findings.”
Jeanita Richardson, an associate professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences and Susan Kools, a professor in the School of Nursing’s Department of Family, Community and Mental Health Systems, are co-investigators.
Students are encouraged to apply by Jan. 16. Awardees will be announced Feb. 13 and individualized mentoring will begin. Each awardee will participate in a one-week, pre-departure workshop and cultural orientation training session May 26-30.
On their return to U.Va in August, they will participate in a weeklong post-research workshop and debriefing. Next October, they will present their work at the Center for Global Health Student Research Symposium.
The grant targets students who are members of a health-disparity population. This includes:
• Racial and ethnic minorities (African-Americans/Blacks, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans/Latinos, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders);
• Individuals from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds; and
• Individuals from rural areas.
Research topics may include HIV management, water-borne disease prevention or new models for asthma care.
“This is just the type of thing a public university should be aspiring to – providing opportunities for students of merit to learn how to do cutting-edge global health research,” said Jeffrey W. Legro, vice provost for global affairs. “My hat is off to Becca Dillingham and her team for tenaciously landing this competitive grant for U.Va.”