MHIRT Program

Brown University Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training Program 

The Brown University Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training Program (MHIRT) provides international summer research experiences for qualified students, along with intensive training prior to travel and continuing upon return.  The program provides exposure and training in global health programs and global health research at a foreign site to qualified undergraduate, post baccalaureates and graduate students in the life, physical, social sciences, or medical students who have not yet received terminal degrees and are from populations historically underrepresented in the sciences.   The program is funded by NIH-National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and is led by Drs. Timothy Flanigan, MD and Amy Nunn and administered by the Brown Global Health Initiative.   

This program can support ten trainees (approximately eight undergraduate students and two graduate students) to participate in a 10-12 week mentored summer research experience in an international setting.  The Brown MHIRT program is also open to students from Tougaloo College who will participate in all aspects of this training program.


During the summer MHIRT trainees will be given the following:

  • Living stipend
  • Housing
  • Round trip airfare and all travel related expenses
  • Some research support


Applicants must be from a population historically underrepresented in the sciences, as defined by the NIH.  The eligibility categories are racial/ethnic, low-income, and/or rural background. 

  • Racial and ethnic groups include- Black/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.  See following site for definitions.
  • Socioeconomically disadvantaged populations must meet the following criteria*: (a) have qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance,  (b) or have received any of the following student loans (Health Professional Student Loans (HPSL);  Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program), (c) or have received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need.   *See 2014 Low income threshold for more details. 
  • Students from rural backgrounds. See "Am I Rural?" for more details.
  •  Undergraduate students who are entering their junior and senior years.  Graduating seniors are also eligible but must be willing to continue project work after summer and return to campus to present findings.   Some training slots are also available to medical and graduate students.
  •  Concentrating in health related field or must have strong and demonstrated academic interest (biomedical, behavioral, clinical or social sciences).
  •  U.S. Citizen or must have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence (i.e. possess a currently valid Alien Registration Receipt Card I-551, or other legal verification of such status).
  •  GPA of 3.0 or higher.


Selected students will be matched at a site based on their research interests, experience and mentor availability.   New sites may be added based on mentor availability and research.  Research projects vary and could include analysis of pre-existing data sets, collection of qualitative or quantitative data with appropriate training, observation and evaluation of interventions, public health program evaluation, assessment of need or utilization of new technologies, and development of public health educational programs.


Federal University of Bahia, Salvador 

(Language proficiency in Portuguese required)


University of Ghana, Accra

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi

Regional hospitals


YRG Care, Chennai

The Philippines

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM),  Manila

University of the Philippines, Manila


The L’viv Regional AIDS Center, L’viv


MHIRT trainees  are highly encouraged to enroll in the Public Health course PHP 2385: Local and Global Community Engagement to Reduce Health Disparities led by Dr. Amy Nunn (course number TBA).

Trainees are required to participate in regular group meetings with other Global Health Scholars and faculty both before and after the overseas experience.  MHIRT trainees are asked to attend Global Health lectures both in the semester before and after the summer experience.   A multi-day orientation will be scheduled before traveling to sites, which will focus on academic, administrative, health, safety, socio-political and cultural information.


During the semester following project completion, students must submit an abstract and present their research results.  Students must also complete a paper describing their research projects and experiences.   A written program evaluation and meeting with mentor and MHIRT staff is required of all trainees.   Any publications resulting from research supported by MHIRT award must be in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy.
Some funding is available to students to present their research results at national conferences or scientific meetings.  


SUMMER 2016 Complete Applications-Due January 1, 2016, 5pm

Please email all materials to, Subject line MHIRT/your last name.  Mailing address : Brown University, Box G-A2
91 Waterman Street, Room 223, Providence, RI 02912

Complete applications must include:

  • Application Form
  • A copy of full transcripts (non-Brown students transcripts must be sealed)
  • Current CV or resume
  • Two letters of recommendation (collected by student and included in application package or emailed directly from the author by the deadline).
  • Personal statement (3 page maximum). Please include: (a) Why you are applying the program (b) Why this program will benefit you (c) What are your long term professional goals (d) What is your interest in global health (e) Description of any travel or study abroad experiences along with any previous research experience.
  • Graduate/Medical Students should also provide a two-page research concept proposal to be conducted at an international site. The paper should include the following:  objective, specific aims, background and significance, methods, data collection procedures and analysis.  If the plan includes work with human subjects, Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval does not need to be submitted with your application, but will be required before the award is made.


For more information, please contact:
Eileen Caffrey Wright
Program Administrator
Fogarty AITRP/Brown MHIRT
Brown University, Box G-A2
91 Waterman Street, Room 223
Providence, RI 02912
Tel: (401) 863-5003