Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training (MHIRT)

Sponsored by grant T37MD001485 from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities National Institutes of Health

2020 Program Announcement

Program Director

Dr. Luis Mota-Bravo, Director of Outreach, Research Training and Minority Science Programs,  School of Biological Sciences

Dr. Marlene de la Cruz, Director Student Academic Development, Outreach, Research Training and Minority Science Programs,  School of Biological Sciences


The Minority Science Programs (MSP) in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) announces the Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training (MHIRT), funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The program offers international research training opportunities to qualified undergraduate, graduate students who are from groups underrepresented in basic science, biomedical, clinical or behavioral health research career fields. MHIRT provides international research training for the purpose of: Encouraging undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented populations to pursue careers in biomedical and/or behavioral health research fields.
Broadening the research efforts and scientific training of undergraduate, graduate students from underrepresented populations to encompass international health issues Assisting undergraduate, graduate students from underrepresented populations to participate in U.S. and international faculty collaborative research initiatives that address minority health or health disparities in the United States and globally.
MHIRT participants receive research training during the summer and participate in original data collection at prestigious international research institutions in Spain, United Kingdom and Mexico.


Participants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents from a group underrepresented in biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences. This includes members of racial and ethnic groups that have been identified by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in biomedical research (including Blacks and African Americans, Hispanic Americans or Latinos, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders). Selected participants will have a demonstrated interest to pursue biomedical and behavioral research careers that will contribute ultimately to the elimination of disparities in health and disease experienced by members of minority communities. Applicants should have previous research experience, training in Safety and Ethics in Research, including human subjects research, animal research, laboratory health, safety and chemical and biological hazards. To fulfill this requirement, UCI students should have passed Bio 194S (Safety and Ethics in Research) or students should enroll in Bio Sci 194S during Spring 2019; students enrolled at another university should show, by either transcripts or a letter of recommendation, their training in research safety and ethics (responsible conduct of research). UCI students should enroll in the Spring 2019 Bio 197 MSP Seminar Series. Since MHIRT participants are required to attend orientation/training sessions at UCI (before departure to the foreign sites), preference will be given to applicants enrolled at UC Irvine.


Undergraduates should have completed two years of coursework in a major related to biomedical or behavioral health science, a minimum GPA of 3.0 and/or show other evidence of exceptional scientific interest and talent. Previous undergraduate research experience is highly recommended before entering the MHIRT program.

Graduate Students

The program can support graduate students with previous research experience in the areas of MHIRT training (routine clinical or lab work is not considered a research experience).


Students participating in MHIRT receive training in  Biomedical Sciences at King’s College London, UK


The training period at the foreign site must be 10 weeks, during July, August and September (depending on the MHIRT site). Participants must adhere to the 10 week training because of the duration of projects and group travel. MHIRT funding includes,

  • Round-trip airfare,
  • Room and board at the foreign site and
  • Summer stipend of $2,500 for undergraduates, $3,500 for Post-baccalaureate/Master level degree students and $4,750 for Pre-doctoral degree level students.

MHIRT may provide support to attend nationwide conferences to present research findings. Travel dates to foreign sites are June 21 to August 29, 2020. MHIRT participants are required to turn in a research paper on their projects on September 22, 2020. In addition, UCI students are expected to orally present their findings at the MSP Undergraduate Research Symposium at UCI, September 21-22, 2020, and at selected national conferences throughout the academic year.


Applications will be reviewed starting on Monday, February 3, 2020*, until all trainee positions are filled. Please download, complete and sign the-MHIRT-application-package-Word-document that contains the MHIRT Application and Statement of Purpose Forms.

For additional information about MHIRT please contact:

Dr. Marlene de la Cruz
Director Student Academic Development
Biological Sciences- Outreach and Minority Science Programs
University of California, Irvine
1134 Biological Sciences III
Irvine, CA 92697-2527
Ph: (949) 824-2589
Fax: (949) 824-6599
e-mail: marlene@uci.edu