The University Record, October 25, 1999

Minority International Research Training Program receives four more years of NIH funding

By Diane Swanbrow
News and Information Services

The Center for Human Growth & Development (CHGD) has received a four-year, $789,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support its Minority International Research Training Program. The program will focus on disparities in child health and development that differentially affect poor and minority children.

U-M research projects on iron deficiency anemia, obesity, school violence, school achievement, and air pollution and childhood asthma, now under way in Chile, Costa Rica, India, South Africa and China, are among the training opportunities available through the program for the year 2000, according to Betsy Lozoff, director of the Center, professor of pediatrics and co-director of the program with CHGD senior research scientist and psychology professor Vonnie McLoyd.

“One of the most effective ways for minority scientists to contribute to improving the situation of disadvantaged minority groups in the U.S. is by working in the field of child health and development,” Lozoff says. “The future well-being of the United States and of the world depends in large part on how the next generations are nurtured. Since 86 percent of the world’s children live in developing countries, neither child health and disease nor resilience and developmental vulnerability can be properly understood without the perspectives given by research in developing countries.

“In order to meet the domestic and global challenges of the next decades,” Lozoff adds, “we must train scientists whose research competence extends beyond the study of middle-class children, adults and families of European descent. We need scientific information about pathways to positive development in children from different cultural backgrounds and the contexts that foster such development.”

In addition to Lozoff, the research scientists serving as mentors and training faculty for the program, funded by the NIH Fogarty International Center, are Center members Roberto Frisancho, professor of anthropology; Sheila Gahagan, professor of pediatrics; Jerome Nriagu, professor of environmental chemistry; Marc Zimmerman, associate professor of health behavior and health education; and Harold W. Stevenson, professor of psychology. Other training faculty include Oscar Barbarin, professor of psychology and of social work; David Lam, professor of economics and director of the Institute for Social Research Population Studies Center; and Richard H. Price, professor of psychology.

“Over the past six years, we’ve had 120 trainees in this program,” Lozoff says. “Our data show that the program has been highly successful in achieving its goals of improving the research skills of minority students, increasing their international interests, and preparing them to pursue advanced degrees in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.”

Nov. 12 is the application deadline for undergraduate and graduate student placements for summer 2000. For more information on applications, contact Kate Restrick, Center for Human Growth and Development, 764-2443 or restrick@umich.edu.