Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Training Program (MHRT)

The NIMHD Minority Health Research Training Program (MHRT) funds U.S. institutions to offer research training opportunities in domestic and international settings to undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate students, as well as residents, fellows, and postdoctoral students from health disparity backgrounds.

Institutions with MHRT funding provide training to students to conduct research in the biomedical, clinical, social, or behavioral sciences at domestic sites and/or specified foreign low and middle income (LMIC) locations. The targeted LMIC areas include regions that provide significant numbers of immigrants to the U.S., including Latin America (Mexico, Central and South America), the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan and West Africa, and Southeast Asia. The training period is at least 10 to 12 weeks and may be up to one year, especially for individuals further in their careers.

MHRT (formerly MHIRT) began in 1993 when NIMHD was the Office of Research on Minority Health. A MHRT grant currently provides the awarded academic institution up to $250,000 in annual funding for a maximum period of 5 years. Programs typically enroll 8 to 12 students each year. At least 50 percent of an institution’s MHRT trainees each year must be at the predoctoral and/or postdoctoral level.

NIMHD does not work directly with students interested in the MHRT program. Students who are interested in MHRT must apply through the MHRT program at a specific college or university.


  • Encourage undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, graduate, postdoctoral, and/or health professions students from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social sciences to pursue careers in biomedical and/or behavioral health research fields
  • Provide training in collaborative research conducted in domestic and LMIC settings to undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, graduate, postdoctoral, and/or health professions students
  • Broaden the research interests and scientific training of undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, graduate, postdoctoral, and/or health professions students from minority backgrounds to encompass domestic and international health issues
  • Expose students from minority backgrounds to research initiatives that address health disparities in the U.S. and in LMIC locations


Colleges and Universities

Institutions of higher education are eligible to apply for NIMHD funding to establish an MHRT program.


  • A student must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident associated with an accredited college or university.
  • A student must be a member of a population experiencing health disparities underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical, or social sciences. This includes racial and ethnic minorities (African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders), individuals from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, and individuals from rural areas.

Student selection criteria vary by institution. For guidance on a specific program, contact the college or university that hosts the program.

NIH Guide No.: RFA-MD-18-007

Page updated Jan. 12, 2024