Health Disparities Research

With a five-year Minority Health International Research Training Program (MHIRT) grant funded by the NIH’s National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the School of Nursing and Health Studies continues to educate students from diverse backgrounds for careers in global health disparities research. The MHIRT initiative bolsters the school’s commitment to a national mandate calling for diversification of the scientific workforce—a crucial step toward achieving health equity in the 21st century.


Through a competitive application process, the SONHS places its MHIRT scholars at foreign institutions around the world during the summer months. After a three-week orientation with their SONHS mentors, the students spend eight weeks abroad with senior-level mentors at their foreign host institutions, participating in research activities. Upon return to Miami, they complete a week-long seminar and evaluation at the SONHS and continued working with their mentors on plans to disseminate study results.

During Summer 2018, 11 SONHS students visited four continents.  Nursing students Sabrina Smith and Antonio Sanchez Gonzalez conducted research at Australian Catholic University’s North Sydney campus related to self-efficacy in stroke patients and their caregivers. “Getting a worldly view, academically and culturally, was incredibly valuable,” says Smith.

At Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile School of Nursing in Santiago de Chile, public health students Nicole Bazinet and Lydia Franklin and nursing student Eloise Davenport did research on issues impacting Chilean nursing students, including violence, tobacco, alcohol, drug use, and sleep behaviors.

Accelerated nursing student Giselle Rodriguez-Henriquez and public health student Joanna Valencia traveled to Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra in the Dominican Republic, where they investigated gender differences in electronic cigarette use among college students and the effect of social support on pregnancy outcomes, respectively.

Nursing student Herveline Saintil and public health student Alexander Vernon focused their scientific studies at the University of the West Indies School of Nursing, Mona campus, on adult asthma sufferers in Jamaica, addressing health disparities related to asthma severity and factors that contribute to medication and treatment adherence. “My participation enabled me to see the world through new eyes,” says Saintil. “I learned to conduct research and to analyze the research and its findings with more skill,” adds Vernon.

In Spain, at the Universidad de Alicante, public health student Brianna Scott worked on a study titled “Walkability, health assets, and vulnerable populations,” and premed student Claudia Ramirez assisted on an ecological study of the impact of road infrastructure on maternal mortality.

Discover more on the MHIRT Website

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute On Minority Health And Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number T37MD008647. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.