Program Overview

Learn about the MHIRT Program

The Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training (MHIRT) program is a part of NIH’s National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). This program enables U.S. institutions to offer short-term international research training opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students from health disparity backgrounds.  As stated on the NIMHD website (, the goals of the MHIRT program are to:

  • Encourage students from health disparity backgrounds to pursue careers in science and biomedical, clinical, and behavioral health research
  • Provide research training in theoretical modeling, developing hypotheses, collecting and analyzing data, problem solving, and clinical or lab activities
  • Expose students to global health issues that relate to health disparities
  • Enable collaboration between colleges/universities and international research programs

The MHIRT program at San Diego State University funds international summer research experiences for qualified undergraduate and graduate students from institutions across the United States.  Our fellowship program provides training in biomedical sciences, medical anthropology, and public health across 6 sites: Ghana, Peru, Taiwan, Uganda, Mexico, and Jordan.  Eligible participants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents from a group under-represented in biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social sciences. This includes members of racial and ethnic groups that have been identified by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in biomedical research (including Blacks and/or African Americans, Hispanic Americans or Latinos, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders). Under-represented also includes disadvantaged backgrounds (e.g. socioeconomic status, disability, first generation to receive higher education).

Undergraduates [junior or senior class standing for the current academic year (or those who can show other evidence of exceptional scientific interest, talent, and academic maturity)] should have completed two years of coursework in a major related to biomedical or behavioral health science, with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Previous undergraduate research experience is highly recommended before entering the MHIRT program.

Graduate students must have previous research experience in the areas of our MHIRT training programs.

The SDSU MHIRT Fellowship program can place up to 10 undergraduate and 4 graduate students at the research sites.  Ghana accepts only undergraduate students; Uganda and Jordan each accept only graduate students.  This is a paid fellowship opportunity, providing funds for travel visa fees, roundtrip travel to and housing at the research site, daily meal allowance and a modest stipend.