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About MHIRT

UC Berkeley Minority Health/Global Health (MH/GH)Disparities Research Fellowship

The Minority Health/Global Health Disparities Research Fellowship at UC Berkeley funds international summer research experiences for qualified Berkeley students. The program provides training in infectious disease research, with a focus on diseases that disproportionately affect people in developing countries.

The Global Health Disparities fellowship is funded through the Minority Health & Health Disparities International Research Training (MHIRT) initiative at the National Institutes of Health. It aims to increase diversity in biomedical and behavioral science research and support research training for students who will contribute to the elimination of health disparities that exist among disadvantaged populations in the U.S. and in developing countries.This fellowship is open to minority students who are considered under-represented in the biomedical sciences and students from medically under-served communities.

This UC Berkeley program leverages infectious disease expertise across a range of disciplines, including integrative biology, molecular and cell biology, bioengineering,computational biology, computer science, biophysics, environmental biology, epidemiology, and economics. The focus of participating faculty members is emerging and neglected infectious diseases, defined broadly to include HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria (including emerging drug-resistant strains, which disproportionately impact low-income communities); emerging epidemics like avian influenza and SARS; as well as so-called “neglected” diseases, like dengue virus, schistosomiasis, and HCV. Infectious disease challenges do not recognize geographic boundaries, and thus form an important bridge between the wealthy world and the developing world.

Students participating in the MHIRT program spend up to 10 weeks overseas, supporting research on health disparities in their respective placement countries. Overseas housing, travel expenses and research-related expenses are covered, and students are provided with a $3,600 living stipend for the summer (or $4,200 for graduate students).

Students selected to participate in the MHIRT program are enrolled in 3-unit course during the Spring semester where they receive training that will prepare them for their summer research abroad. Students also begin training with their P.I. or on-campus mentor during the Spring semester, are are expected to spend 8-10 hours per week in the lab.

Goals of the UC Berkeley MHIRT Program:

  • To empower underrepresented health sciences students, by providing opportunities to bring their knowledge and research training to under-served communities in the developed and developing world.
  • To promote the translation of knowledge from the global South to the North, by encouraging students to identify ways in which their experiences abroad can inform health and research practices in the U.S.
  • To build capacity at U.C. Berkeley and our developing country partner sites, by providing new resources, increased student and faculty exchange, and new collaborative research projects.
  • To address the growing student interest in global health across the campus, and to provide international research experiences with a focus on health in developing countries. The UC Berkeley MHIRT program is administered by the the Biology Scholars Program and the Center for Emerging and Neglected Diseases.

MHIRT Program Eligibility:

This program is open to students who come from a background underrepresented in the biomedical sciences¹ and communities affected by health disparities². Students who fall within both categories are especially encouraged to apply. This program is designed for students in their 3rd, 4th, and 5th year of undergraduate study, or 1st year of graduate study, although others will be considered upon MHIRT faculty recommendation. Students must be available to take the MHIRT class on UC Berkeley’s campus the Spring semester prior to the summer of their research.

¹The NIH has defined communities that are underrepresented in the biomedical sciences as: Black Americans, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Hispanics/Latinxs, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.

² The NIH has defined communities affected by health disparities as: Black Americans, Latinx Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, Asian Americans, socio-economically disadvantaged populations, underserved rural populations, and sexual and gender minorities.

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