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 (5T37MD008655) 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.

Check out Brandon Dale's blog about his summer in Ghana.   Brandon is a Brown MHIRT trainee who spent the summer of 2015 at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, University of Ghana. 


During the summer MHIRT trainees will be given the following:

  • Living stipend
  • Housing
  • Round trip airfare and 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, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.  
  • 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 2015 Low income guidelines 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 or may be unavailable year to year.  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.  In recent years Brown MHIRT students have trained at the following countries and sites:


James P. Grant School of Public Health, Dhaka

Foundation for Advancement of Innovations in Technology and Health Bangladesh (faith), Dhaka 


Federal University of Bahia, Salvador 

(Language proficiency in Portuguese required)


University of Ghana, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra

Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Kumasi

Regional hospitals


YRG Care, Chennai

The Philippines

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM),  Manila

University of the Philippines, Manila


The National Institute of Public Health of Mexico (INSP),  Cuernavaca


The L’viv Regional AIDS Center, L’viv

 Kyiv Municipal Pediatric TB Hospital


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 2017 Complete Applications
NEW DEADLINE - January 11, 2017

New application form to open December 1, 2016

Please email all materials to, Subject line MHIRT/your last name.  Only complete applications will be considered.

Mailing address : Brown University, Box G-A2
91 Waterman Street, Room 207, Providence, RI 02912

Complete applications must include:

  • Application Form 
  • A copy of full transcripts (non-Brown students transcripts must be sealed)
  • Current resume
  • Two letters of recommendation from faculty, supervisor or others qualified to evaluate your potential to participate in the overseas research experience.   These letters should be sent directly from the recommender to the MHIRT program, either via email or mailed to the address above.  
  • Personal statement (3 page maximum). Please include: (a) Why you are applying the program (b) Why this program will benefit you  and what yu can contribute (c) What are your long term goals (d) What is your interest in global health (e) Description of any travel or study abroad experiences.
  • 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