CGHSR Scholars

Our CGHSR Scholars gain hands-on health research experience at international sites with faculty mentor support.

CGHSR Scholars are University of Minnesota doctoral students, postdocs, and recent master's level graduates who complete 8–12 months of mentored research at an international study site. Scholars will work on an active research study led by faculty from UMN and/or from their partner institution. Scholars will be expected to contribute to the study in a role that is appropriate for their course of study and level of training, and specific responsibilities will be discussed and decided between the proposed mentor and the trainee. 


Meet Our Global Health Scholars

Our CGHSR Scholars for 2023-2024 are Lily Bastian and Sophia Iaquinta. 

Lily Bastian

CGHSR Scholar

Sophia Iaquinta

CGHSR Scholar

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2022 CGHSR Scholar

George Omondi Paul

Dr. Omondi is a wildlife veterinarian and an epidemiologist with a keen interest in zoonotic diseases and livelihoods at the human-animal interface. He is a postdoctoral associate at the College of Veterinary Medicine, and he earned his PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota, where through funding from the Fogarty Fellowship/CGHSR, he conducted research on zoonotic tuberculosis in a pastoralist population in Kenya. Omondi joins CGHSR scholars for 2022-2023 to work on a project titled “Mara Ecosystem Health Framework: Developing a ‘whole village’ approach to understanding health at the human-livestock-wildlife interface” with the Wildlife Research and Training Institute in Kenya. Omondi will work with mentors Andres Perez, DVM, PhD at the UMN College of Veterinary Medicine and Vincent Obanda, Veterinary Scientist, Disease Ecologist, and Head of Research Permitting & Compliance, Wildlife Research & Training Institute.

2021 CGHSR Scholars

Jessica Deere, PhD '21, College of Veterinary Medicine

Jessica Deere was a 2021 CGHSR Scholar. Deere received her PhD in 2021 from the UMN College of Veterinary Medicine and now is working as postdoctoral associate at the Emory University Department of Environmental Sciences. Deere's project was titled "Greater Gombe Ecosystem Health: A new framework for understanding health at the human-nonhuman primate interface." Dr. Deere worked at the Gombe Stream Ecosystem Health research site in Tanzania along with mentor Dominic Travis, DVM, MPH, of the College of Veterinary Medicine. Deere also worked with mentors Thomas Gillespie, PhD, at Emory University, and Tiffany Wolf, DVM, PhD from the UMN College of Veterinary Medicine.

Saeun Park, PhD student, School of Public Health

Saeun Park was a 2021 CGHSR Scholar. Park is a PhD student at the U of M School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health. Park worked with mentor Sarah Cusick, PhD, on her CGHSR Scholar project titled "Assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on caregiver’s depression and its association with child neurodevelopment." She conducted her research at the Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda.

2019 CGHSR Scholars

Waruiru Mburu, PhD '21, School of Public Health

Waruiru Mburu was a 2019 CGHSR Scholar. She recently  received her PhD at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health. Under the mentorship of Beth Virnig and Shalini Kulasingam with the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health, Mburu implemented a project entitled, "Epidemiology of Breast Cancer in Ghana," at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. She was part of the Northern Pacific Global Health Research Fogarty Fellows cohort, with funding from the CGHSR Scholars program.

Shanna Miko, DNP '21, School of Nursing

Shanna Miko was a 2019 CGHSR Scholar. She received her DNP for Health Innovation and Leadership at the University of Minnesota's School of Nursing. Miko was the inaugural recipient of the CGHSR Scholars Program in Refugee and Population Health and devoted her year to work with the UN Agency for Migration in Kampala, Uganda under the mentorship of Sarah Hoffman with the School of Nursing.


Meet the Mentors

The UMN has a wide range of faculty working on various global health topics. Mentors can be from anywhere across the UMN. Working with a site mentor from the host country is also highly encouraged. 

Researcher Spotlight: Kumi Smith
Researcher Spotlight: Logan Spector
Researcher Spotlight: Jonathan Kirsch
Researcher Spotlight: Sarah Cusick
Researcher Spotlight: Shalini Kulasingam
Researcher Spotlight: Sarah Hoffman

Explore researcher spotlights from CGHSR to learn more about some of our mentors' global health work, as well as our updates from the field.  


Global Health Scholars Around the World

Our CGHSR Scholars Program provides hands-on training at international research sites to University of Minnesota students through a guided mentorship program.



Discover How to Apply

The purpose of CGHSR Scholars is for UMN graduate students and postdocs to gain hands-on global health research experience and to build mutually beneficial connections between UMN and key international sites. Recent graduates of master's programs must demonstrate how a year of mentored, global health research will contribute to a research-focused career path.

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Criteria for Mentors and Research Sites

Eligible Mentors and Research Sites

CGHSR Scholars applications are open from September - February. Applicants will be informed of decisions in March. 

Research Site Criteria:

Evidence of a current University of Minnesota and international host institution collaboration that is beneficial to the international host institution is required. Make note of a current or in-progress affiliation agreement between the University of Minnesota and the partnering host institution (a Health Sciences-wide affiliation agreement is preferable. If status is not known, contact CGHSR staff).

There are no geographical requirements; CGHSR Scholars may propose a project anywhere in the world. However, CGHSR prioritizes projects that demonstrate relevance to important health issues or disparities at the hosting site. Low-income countries are preferred, but middle-income countries may also be considered.

Any projects proposed in locations with Level 3 or 4 State Department Warnings must pursue ITRAAC approval. Approval is not required at the time of application, but will be required if your proposal is selected for CGHSR Scholar funding.

Mentor Criteria:

Commitment from at least two mentors, from the UMN and from the host institution, for at least one year to ensure scholars have support before, during, and for follow-up after the proposed research, is required. A letter of support from both mentors will be required at the time of application. 

In the application, include a description of the existing and developing collaboration(s) between the mentor(s) and the host institution or area of study. 

Identifying a Mentor or Scholar and Research Site

Identifying a Mentor and Research Site

CGHSR scholars can be mentor- or scholar-initiated. In both cases, a graduate student or postdoc submits an application for the research project with a UMN mentor and research site mentor(s).

  • Faculty are encouraged to recruit and encourage potential CGHSR scholars to apply to work on their projects and collaborations of interest. 
  • Students seeking mentors should familiarize themselves with current researchers at the University of Minnesota who are available to serve as a mentor. You may want to consider an instructor or someone you have an existing relationship with that you would like to work with further. Experts@Minnesota can be a good place to explore researchers’ topics and ideas.  

Consider these steps when establishing a mentor-scholar-research site relationship: 

  1. Mutual area(s) of interest and aims for professional growth. 
  2. Mentor’s and scholar’s interest, existing connections, and opportunities for mutual benefit to the host institution or country. 
  3. Opportunities to advance science and research activity. Read publications and manuscripts of all parties involved to get to know scholarly work in addition to interpersonal connections and interests. 
  4. If (and when) a collaborator is not available, ask if there is anyone they would recommend for the area of research of interest. 

The faculty named below have served as mentors with CGHSR in the past. 

Medicine:  David Boulware | Jose DebesJonathan Kirsch | Ken Kunisaki | Radha Rajasingham | Josh RheinTimothy Schacker 

Nursing: Sarah Hoffman | Barbara McMorris | Carolyn Porta

Public Health: Bruce Alexander | Weihua Guan | Shalini Kulasingam | Kumi Smith | Claudia Munoz-Zanzi 

Vet Med: Katey Pelican | Andres PerezTiffany Wolf

Child Development: Jed Elison


Applications are not restricted to these faculty mentors. Any UMN faculty may serve as a mentor.

Additional guidance can be provided by meeting with a CGHSR staff member. Contact [email protected].

Applicant Eligibility

Applicant Eligibility

  • Current University of Minnesota doctoral student or postdoc (doctoral degree completion within 5 years) in any college or professional school with doctoral degree programs.
  • Recent graduate of a University of Minnesota master's program. Recent master's graduates must have completed their degree within 6 months of starting the program (ie: applicants who will graduate in May 2023 may apply to begin July 2023). Applicants in this category must demonstrate a strong interest and intent in further graduate studies and intentions for a research career.



  • Scholar Stipend: $2,200/month for 8-12 months ($17,600-$26,400 paid through biweekly payroll)
  • Travel Costs: up to $3,000
  • Insurance Stipend: up to $2,000 
  • Mentor Discretionary Funding: up to $5,000 - mentors may request this funding to cover related costs, such as Scholar’s research expenses or compensation to foreign mentor or site.

All funding will be routed through the UMN Mentor’s department or unit.

Tuition benefits are not available for CGHSR Scholars. Students are encouraged to discuss the prospect of a flex year or research year with their school’s academic advisors and leadership prior to applying.

Application Instructions

Application Instructions

Applications include:

  1. Cover page (1 page)
  2. Proposed Project (2 pages)
    1. Background and Significance
    2. Project Aims
    3. Status of the Project
    4. Roles and Responsibilities at the Project Site
    5. Connections to Existing Efforts
  3. Timeline (1 page)
    1. Pre-departure work, in host site, and follow-up
  4. Letter of Support from UMN Mentor
  5. Letter of Support from International Mentor or Proposed Host Institution
  6. UMN Transcripts (unofficial, not necessary for postdocs)
  7. Master’s graduates should provide a letter of support from their graduate school advisor describing their aptitude for research.

In light of pandemic-related travel restrictions, applicants should consider how they will actively participate in research activities in the event that they are not able to travel to the international research site. A detailed description should be included in the timeline component of their application.

All application components should be single-spaced, 11 point font or larger, with half-inch margins or larger submitted as a single PDF in the order listed above and submitted to [email protected] by February 2.

Download Detailed Application Instructions

Application Review Criteria

Application Review Criteria

Applications will be reviewed based on:

Project feasibility

  • Quality of the project proposal
  • Timeline
  • Proposed mentor team

Evidence of scholarly excellence

  • Awards, honors, and scholarly activity
  • Transcripts (for graduate students) or research portfolio (for postdocs)

Motivation and Applicant Qualities

  • Alignment of scholar’s skills with project needs
  • How this experience will contribute to the scholars’s career trajectory
  • Letters of recommendation

Alignment with UMN and International Partner

  • Does the proposed research project align with the study site and mentors?
  • Is the project significant to the partner site and mentors? 
  • Is there evidence of strong support from the international parter?

Application Dates

Application Dates: 2024

CGHSR Scholars applications are open from September – February. Applicants will be informed of decisions in March. 

Deadline to apply: Friday, February 2, 2024

Award notification: March 31, 2024

Start Date: On or after July 1, 2024

Duration: 8–12 month appointment. 

End Date: Flexible. June 30 has typically been proposed as an end date. If Scholars anticipate working beyond December of the end year, please explain the timeframe and rationale in the application.