MHIRT Program Overview


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.

What is the MHIRT Program?

The San Diego State University MHIRT program, in existence since 1993. The program provides funds for international summer research experiences to qualified undergraduate and graduate students from institutions across the United States.  Our fellowship program currently provides research training in social sciences, behavioral sciences, and public health. Each year we accept a diverse group of undergraduate and graduate students to participate in programs at various research institutes and universities internationally.

Our funding comes from the Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training (MHIRT) program. MHIRT 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. Health disparity backgrounds includes minorities and other underrepresented and under served populations in health research. For more information on health disparity backgrounds and the MHIRT program, please visit the NIMHD website at (

The goals of the MHIRT program are to:

Eligible participants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents from a  group that is underrepresented in biomedical, behavioral, public health, and social sciences research. For the SDSU MHIRT program, priority consideration is given to members of racial and ethnic groups that have been identified by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in biomedical, and public health 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 with junior or senior class standing for the current academic year should have completed two years of coursework in a major related to public health or behavioral health science, with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Previous undergraduate research experience is highly recommended before entering the MHIRT program. Applications may also be considered from those who can show other evidence of exceptional scientific interest, talent, and academic maturity.

Master’s students must have previous research experience in the areas of our MHIRT training programs.

Applicants can apply for all three sites. 

This is a supported fellowship opportunity, providing funds for travel visa fees, round-trip travel to and from the research site, housing at the research site, daily meal allowance and a modest stipend (approximately $1200 per month for undergraduates, and approximately $1600 per month for graduate students). The stipends are meant to subsidize your research fellowship during the summer and will be fully reimbursed by November, after your return from the research site. The stipend should not be used for any other purpose until then.

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