“I had the opportunity to classify specifically what type of Albinism an individual has; therefore, researchers could draw these massive classification scales for people that have Albinism in Brazil, because thus far in Brazil… nothing has ever been done for them.”
Junior Biology major JD Wolfe was one of several students selected to participate in CBU’s Minority Health and International Research Training (MHIRT) Program this past summer. MHIRT provides international research training opportunities to qualified undergraduate, graduate, and medical students from socially or economically disadvantaged groups who have been historically underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research careers.
While offering placements in both Uganda and Brazil, MHIRT stations students for 10 weeks, partnering them with leading scientists and universities within the region.
“MHIRT provides a cohort for you, pairing students in the project that most suits them. This program is unique in the sense of not only their research, but their networking… the contacts that I made while there, thanks to our program directors, were critical to my experience. I tried to meet as many people as I possibly could, because you may never see those people again, underestimating the impact they may have in your life.”
Selected students engage in research related to biomedical science, behavioral science, environmental science, carnivore conservation, and/or public health. Thanks to funding by the Fogarty International Center and the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health, all expenses in relation to the internship program are paid.
Did you know that the Albino population in Brazil is approximately 1 in 17,000? The research JD Wolfe is performing plans to study 10% of this population. His experience is just one example of the numerous strides MHIRT is making around the world.
When asked to give advice to others interested in applying for the program, he stated, “Do whatever you can possibly do to go abroad — without hesitation. Make it a priority. Make it happen.”
Keep this in mind: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.