Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training (MHIRT) -UCSC

University of California-Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA.
Type Basic Science Research, Global Health, Health Disparities


Since its inception in 1993 the UCSC-MHIRT (formerly MIRT) has focused on increasing the number of Ph.D. trained biomedical scientists from ethnic minority and under represented backgrounds engaged in basic biomedical research careers in the US and more recently in areas specific to minority health disparity issues. Our approach is to actively engage bright, enthusiastic underrepresented minority students in a variety of exciting, on-going, international, behavioral and biomedically relevant research projects conducted in the both the natural environment and the laboratory in collaboration with students and faculty from the host country.  These challenging and unique research projects combine a rich and stimulating cultural experience with productive and creative scientific research training. The benefit to our students is a broader international scientific and educational perspective, increased self-confidence and independence, plus substantial improvements in technical expertise. We have found that this approach greatly encourages students to pursue advanced scientific training leading to the Ph.D. and has already contributed to the next generation of biomedical scientists and academic faculty.

Interested students can contact Dr. Leo Oritz at clortiz@ucsc.edu


  • Preference is placed on students belonging to an ethnic minority including, but not limited to, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, or from medically underserved populations (i.e., socio-economically disadvantaged individuals in rural and urban areas).
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • Preference is placed on juniors, seniors, or recent graduates with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • Students should have completed at least one year of biology and/or chemistry with laboratory, with extracurricular laboratory experience preferred.
  • Students must demonstrate interest in pursuing a graduate program in scientific research.
  • Students must be available for the minimum time commitment required by the country program of interest. This usually varies between a minimum stay of three to five months, with occasional opportunities to extend the fellowship period. Note that appointments may begin at any time of year.
  • Fellows must possess a positive and flexible attitude, willingness to fully participate in demanding research activities, and enthusiasm to engage in different cultures.

More Information


UCSC-MIRT Program Director
Leo Ortiz
Department of Biology, A305 Earth and Marine Sciences
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
Phone: 831-459-2247
Fax: 831-459-5353