The University of Texas at El Paso Minority Health International Research Training Program (UTEP MHIRT) funded by the National Institute on Minority Health & Health Disparities (NIMHHD) develops and establishes a collaborative relationship between the University of Texas at El Paso and international universities for the conduct of project activities. Currently collaborating with Universidad Central del Ecuador (Quito, Ecuador), Universidad Autonoma de los Andes (Ambato, Ecuador), Instituto Conmemorativo Gorgas de Estudios de la Salud (Panama City, Panama), INDICASAT (Panama City, Panama) and Universidad de Costa Rica (San Jose, Costa Rica) the project supports both undergraduate and graduate students in basic sciences, clinical, biomedical, health, and behavioral sciences research focused in Hispanic health disparities.
The Project serves as a catalyst to encourage trainees to pursue research careers concerning variables affecting Hispanic health disparities. Trainees participate in short-term international Summer research education and practicum experience which facilitates a deeper understanding of health issues and health research complexities in minority population groups. Upon completion of the MHIRT experience, trainees engage in dissemination activities, (conference presentation and/or publication), based on their research experience. During their time at the international research site, trainees are supported by participating via the MHIRT Facebook page and Skype interaction with faculty, staff and other MHIRT trainees. The UTEP MHIRT project mentors trainees aspiring to become health sciences researchers through institutional role-modeling, scientific working groups, support of institutional research advocates and support for gaining research competencies that advance the state of knowledge about Hispanic health disparities. The Project encourages interdisciplinary research and practice.
The purpose of this project is to enable the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) to offer short-term international health disparities research educational opportunities for Hispanic undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the College of Health Sciences, Biology, Psychology, or Pre medicine/dental majors. The trainees are provided a Summer Institute in which they will receive education regarding: 1) health disparities, 2) the conduct of culturally, ethical, and linguistically relevant research including methodologies, data management, interpretation of results, ethical issues, and 3) a supervised international research experience working with in collaboration with UTEP investigators and researchers located in Ecuador, Costa Rica and Panama. Participating trainees will begin the development of a knowledge base for innovation in health disparity research.
The specific aims and methods for the Project are:
- Develop a collaborative partnership between UTEP and international university researchers that seeks to increase the number of minority students who seek health disparities research careers with a special emphasis on Hispanic health issues
- Prepare future minority health researchers to reduce health disparities in Hispanic and other minority populations.
- Disseminate research on health disparities using community partnerships and established scientific venues.
During participation in the Project trainees are also afforded with cultural immersion opportunities and the experience of living in a home stay arrangement with an in-country family. All project related expenses including travel, home stay, tuition and books, passport and VISA fees are funded by UTEP MHIRT. Additionally, participating trainees receive a monthly stipend during their involvement in the Project.