MHIRT International Research Internship, Summer 2017

Funded by the Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research and Training (MHIRT) program of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Application Form

Supplemental Program Information

Application due Monday, December 19, 2016,
no later than 4:00 pm CST

MHIRT Applicant Information Sessions

MHIRT information sessions are scheduled for:


Tuesday, October 18, 2016
3:00 - 4:30 pm


Tuesday, November 15, 2016
10:00 - 11:30 am


Tuesday, November 15, 2016
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm


MHIRT staff are also available to speak to groups, clubs, and classes upon request. For more information, please contact Marek Mikulski at or 319-384-4296.

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 Marek Mikulski at or 319-384-4296 for further information or assistance.


Collaborating Programs


Purpose of Award

People around a wellThe 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 (, published reports from AAMC, NSF, and National Academy of Sciences, American Federation for Medical Research (, 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. The MHIRT Program recognizes 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.

Seven undergraduate awards and four 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.

Site Locations

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, MHIRT has two permanent sites to choose from, Romania or The Gambia. The MHIRT Program 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, the MHIRT Program can work with those graduate students to allow them to conduct their original project in Romania or The Gambia. At the time of application, the student must 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. Please contact the MHIRT Program Coordinator early in the fall semester if this is a potential interest, so that arrangements can be made with the site.

Graduate/Professional students, however, 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.


Obligations to MHIRT


Terms of the Award

Duration: The summer internship will last for a minimum of eight weeks and a maximum of ten weeks. The estimated program dates are June 1 - August 4, 2017.

MHIRT covers these expenses:

The applicant is responsible for these expenses:


Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be read and evaluated by the MHIRT Program selection committee members. Awards will be made based on how well the applicants meet the following 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:


Questions can be directed to:

Dr. Marek Mikulski
MHIRT Coordinator
2213 Westlawn
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242