CIREH International Summer
Funded by the Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research and Training (MHIRT) program of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Check back in September, 2014 for the Summer 2015 application
Applicant Information Sessions
CIREH staff are also available to speak to groups, clubs, and classes upon request.
The University of Iowa is required by federal law to inform the public of their rights and protections under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). This includes access to reasonable accommodations such as auxiliary aids, interpreters or other reasonable accommodation requests while attending University-sponsored public events. Please contact Kristina Venzke at 335-4135 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or assistance.
The Iowa Biosciences Advantage (IBA) program mission is to identify academically talented undergraduate underrepresented minority students with aspirations for a research career and provide them with first-rate training that will facilitate their entry into doctoral programs in the biomedical, behavioral, and and biophysical sciences.
- National Institutes of Health
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the steward of medical and behavioral research for the nation. Its mission is science in pursuit of fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability. This program is administered by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities office at NIH.
The Center for International Rural and Environmental Health (CIREH) is an interdisciplinary program dedicated to research, training and education concerning global issues in public health, especially those related to occupational and environmental health.
Purpose of Award
The FY 2009-2013 NIH Strategic Plan for Health Disparities lists expanding and enhancing research capacity to create a culturally sensitive and culturally competent workforce as one of three major goals each NIH Institute and Center must strive to achieve. The NIH recognizes a unique and compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences research workforce. The NIH expects efforts to diversify the workforce to lead to the recruitment of talented researchers from underrepresented groups; improve the quality of the educational and training environment; balance and broaden the perspective in setting research priorities; and improve the Nation's capacity to address and eliminate health disparities.
In a number of health areas that disproportionately affect minority and underserved populations, there is a critical need for trained researchers in biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences. Especially in the life, physical, and social sciences, where small numbers are insufficient to meet the increasing needs in these areas (http://www.nap.edu), published reports from AAMC, NSF, and National Academy of Sciences, American Federation for Medical Research (http://www.afmr.org), and others (J. National Medical Association 97, 1063 (2005)) indicate that there is a need to replenish and diversify the U.S. workforce. The situation is especially grave for minorities underrepresented in biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences. CIREH/MHIRT recognize that through the development of training programs directed at these underrepresented groups, the knowledge and skills needed to conduct research and to prepare trainees for successful careers as biomedical and behavioral scientists to eliminate disparities in health and disease experienced by members of minority communities is greatly enhanced.
Eight undergraduate awards and two graduate/professional awards are available each summer. These awards will support programs to offer international research training opportunities at a foreign site to qualified undergraduate, post baccalaureates or graduate students in the life, physical, or social sciences; or medical students, dental students, or students in other health-professional programs who have not yet received terminal degrees who are from groups underrepresented in biomedical, behavioral, clinical or social sciences research. At this time, only students from the University of Iowa may apply.
At the time of application, students may indicate a site preference based on their geographical and research interests, however, the applicant's preferences are not necessarily guaranteed. Currently, CIREH has three permanent sites to choose from, in Romania, The Gambia, and Peru. The CIREH Selection Committee will look at your interests and match you to an ongoing research project at a site that can support your academic interests, as well as your geographic preferences. We do not expect that undergraduate students will design their own original research projects, since this requires advance planning of up to one year, and there are ethical considerations to take into account, such as University approval to work with human subjects. It is important that you clearly describe your public health interests in the application essay, and also indicate on the application form your top three public health topics of interest. The on-site mentors will also look very closely at your application and they will make determinations about your internship sites based on the information you provide.
The University of Iowa MHIRT program has established student internship sites in the following locations:
Some graduate students, however, may already have an idea for their own original research project. In this case, CIREH can work with those graduate students to allow them to conduct the internship at a site of their choice if, at the time of application, they submit a project proposal and letters of support from both UI faculty mentors and international mentors at the site abroad. Students who design their own projects must also ensure that their project obtains the necessary human subjects approvals from the University of Iowa Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the host country's Ethics Board/IRB.
Graduate/Professional students are not required to design their own research project. They may also request to be matched to an ongoing research project at a site of their choice.
- Participants must be citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States, 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). Non-citizen nationals are generally persons born in outlying possessions of the United States (e.g. American Samoa). Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible to participate in the MHIRT program.
- Minimum GPA: 3.0
- Participants must be currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program at the University of Iowa. Graduating seniors are eligible to apply (you will sign up for a zero-credit hour internship for the summer, which will extend your student status).
- Participants must be enrolled in a program of study in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences.
- Applicants must have completed two years of coursework in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical or social sciences.
- Students are eligible due to their status as a minority student. This may include: African Americans, Hispanic/Latino(a) Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, Asian Americans, and/or Middle Eastern Americans.
- Students may qualify as students from low income backgrounds. The applicant must be able to demonstrate that they have received any of the financial assistance listed below:
(a) have qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance; or
(b) have received any of the following student loans: Health Professional Student Loans (HPSL), Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program; or have received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need. Please attach copies of documentation which shows receipt of this financial assistance to your application.
- Students may qualify as being from rural backgrounds. Individuals from rural backgrounds are defined as those who come from a family residing in an area designated by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as non-metropolitan). The home address of prospective trainees can be entered into the Rural Assistance Center's "Am I Rural" website to obtain a Core Based Statistical Areas designation of Metropolitan, Micropolitan, or Rural. Prospective trainees from areas with Micropolitan or Rural designations meet MHIRT eligibility requirements. Please use your "home" address (where you grew up or lived prior to starting College or University. If you lived in several different areas, you may try several different addresses. You must attach a print-out of the search results to the application as proof of your "rural" eligibility.
Obligations to MHIRT
- Students must complete a course in the responsible conduct of research prior to the internship departure date, which is the CITI online course offered through the University of Iowa Institutional Review Board & Human Subjects Office web site
- Students planning to conduct research with human subjects and graduate students who are designing their own project/site must designate a faculty mentor from the University of Iowa. This faculty mentor will serve to oversee student activities and provide academic counsel and support while the student is conducting the internship abroad.
- Should a participant choose to conduct research of their own design involving human subjects (rather than participate in an ongoing, pre-approved project coordinated by the international host institution), s/he must complete an IRB application and receive IRB approval prior to departing for the internship. Note: this process can be lengthy! You must also receive approval from your international site BEFORE you can apply to the University of Iowa. If you are considering conducting research with human subjects, please contact our office as soon as possible for further information about this process.
- Students must comply with mandatory pre-departure activities, such as orientations and trainings
- During the semester following project completion, students must present their research results as a means of sharing their experiences and findings, typically at a seminar arranged by IBA and CIREH
- Students must complete a ten page paper describing their research projects or internship experiences and submit it at the conclusion of their projects
- Students must complete a program evaluation, both written and in person, with a MHIRT staff member
- Any publications resulting from research supported by a CIREH internship award must be in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy
- During the year following project completion, students may present their research results in a public forum. Funding is available to pay for the cost of printing a research poster, or to attend a domestic conference if you submit an abstract and it is accepted.
Terms of the Award
Duration: The summer internship will last for a minimum of ten weeks and a maximum of twelve. The estimated program dates for 2014 will be May 24-August 2, 2014.
CIREH covers these expenses:
- Round trip airfare
- Stipend: $1200 per month for undergraduates (Junior/Senior), $1600 per month for Post baccalaureate/Clinical/Master level degree students, and $2000 per month for Predoctoral degree level students.
- Travel/Medical Insurance for duration of the summer program. Includes coverage for necessary medical services, as well as emergency medical evacuation or repatriation of remains. Please check the policy for more details.
- Visa fees
- Tuition and fees: CIREH pays for the cost of registering for a zero-credit internship program. This will appear on your transcript as an internship experience. If you would like to arrange for an independent study course with an instructor who agrees to serve as your mentor, please talk to the CIREH staff about the possibility of tuition reimbursement for an independent study course (up to 3 semester hours).
- Post-internship benefits include fully funded travel expenses to domestic conference if an abstract based on your summer work is accepted, or research poster printing fees for local events
The applicant is responsible for these expenses:
- Passport, if you need to get a new one, or renew an existing passport
- Co-pays for required immunizations and medications (depending on what country you are traveling to). CIREH can pay for your summer insurance premiums, but not for the co-pays for medical services or prescriptions.
- Transportation to and from the airport of departure in the USA. Your in-country hosts will pick you up when you arrive at your foreign destination.
- Expenses above and beyond normal living costs in your host country (generally food and local transportation costs). For example, you may need to bring extra money if you plan to do any personal travel, or buy souvenirs.
Applications will be read and evaluated by MHIRT selection committee members. Awards will be made based on how well they meet the following criteria:
- Appropriateness of the project to the trainee's academic level and future career plans
- A demonstration of background knowledge in research and/or technical skills for acquiring, processing and interpreting information to be gathered
- Priority will be given to applicants who are interested in research pertinent to reducing and/or eliminating health disparities
- Applicant meets all eligibility criteria
Former MHIRT Trainees
Click here to view a list of past MHIRT students' sites and research projects.
Click here to view former MHIRT students' publications and presentations.
Alternate Sources of Funding
The Office for Study Abroad maintains a list of other funding opportunities for both undergraduate students and graduate students wishing to do research or study overseas. Please visit their website at: http://international.uiowa.edu/study-abroad/funding
Questions can be directed to:
MHIRT Program Coordinator
Center for International Rural and Environmental Health (CIREH)
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242