International Exchange Program

If you are a student or recent graduate wishing to conduct mentored research abroad, our International Exchange Program may be the internship for you. Our program emphasizes collaboration, cultural and scientific exchange, diversity, and a passion for medical sciences. To be eligible, you must be 1) a member of a health disparity population underrepresented in the fields of medicine and science as per the NIH guidelines; 2) currently enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral program with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, or have graduated no earlier than 24 months prior to the start of the program in June; and 3) a US citizen, permanent resident, or non-citizen national. We select candidates from all over the United States, from such diverse fields as medicine and science, anthropology, education, public health, social work, and laboratory professionals with backgrounds in areas such as cell and molecular biology.

Program Director Luz Claudio, PhD, is Chief of the Division of International Health and Professor of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Student Information

Find out about eligibility, applying, orientation, travel arrangements, projects, and benefits.

In order to apply, you must meet all of the criteria (1 through 4) listed below:

1. A member of a health disparity population underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical, or social sciences. This includes:

    • African Americans; Asian Americans; Hispanics; American Indians and Alaskan Natives; Native Hawaiians; and Pacific Islanders.
    • Individuals from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds.
    • Individuals from rural areas.

2. Currently enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral program, or have graduated no earlier than 24 months prior to the start of the program in June.

3. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher from the current or most recent university.

4. US citizen, permanent resident, or non-citizen national. 

For more information about eligibility, please contact us at ITPApplications@mssm.edu.

How to Apply

The application form will become available in October-November each year to select participant for the summer in the following year. Currently, applicants are required to submit the following documents, along with their completed application form.

1. Personal statement (500 words)

2. Statement of past research experiences (500 words)

3. Statement on past travel experiences (500 words)

4. Transcript(s)

5. Current CV

6. Two letters of recommendation signed and typed on a letterhead.

Your letters of recommendation must be signed and on letterhead from the reference’s institution. They should be submitted either by you via the online application form, or by the reference via email to ITPApplications@mssm.edu. We reserve the right to verify recommendations via phone or email. If you have a hard copy of your letter, you may scan and upload it on the online application form, or email it to us.

View the application

Once selected as an intern for the program, you travel to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City to participate in an intensive one-week, mandatory orientation during the first week in June. The orientation covers a wide variety of topics to prepare you for your project, including research ethics, cultural competency, study design, writing workshop, and career development.

If selected for the program you will receive the following benefits:

  • Paid round-trip travel and housing to attend the Orientation Week in New York City
  • Housing at international research site
  • Emergency health coverage for the 11 weeks spent in the host country, including emergency evacuation coverage
  • Monthly stipend between $1,200 and $2,000, depending on level of training

As an intern you are required to dedicate 11 or 12 consecutive weeks to the program. You must also submit a report on your research in the form of a scientific paper worthy of publication. We choose two papers for presentation at an international conference, based on merit.

After completing the orientation week for interns, you travel to your host country in dyads (two students per country) to begin the research and international experience. You work with a mentor in your host country for 11 weeks (no exceptions to length can be made). As an intern, you are assigned an international site based on your research skills and other criteria. Our international affiliates are renowned institutions in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, and South Africa.

Below is the list of countries, and the topics/fields in which our mentors specialize. Please note that the research sites change each year.

Buenos Aires, Argentina
Site 1: HIV epidemiology, prevention and management; tuberculosis.
Site 2: Metabolic disorders; obesity; metagenomics.

Murcia, Spain
Site 1: Pediatric environmental health; childhood cancer; leukemia; breastfeeding; obesity.
Site 2: Clinical and molecular epidemiology; public health; pancreatic cancer; cancer.

Cape Town, South Africa
Public health; occupational health; environmental health; health effects of agrichemicals; alcohol and substance abuse; prenatal alcohol use and risks; healthcare for people with disabilities.

Dublin, Ireland
Prostate cancer; cancer research and treatment; radiation therapy; chemotherapy.

Cuernavaca, Mexico
Environmental health; epidemiology; arsenic exposure; cancer research and prevention.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Site 1: Public health; occupational health; health literacy; health education; pesticide exposure; risk communication; risk perception.
Site 2: Environmental health; occupational health; pesticide exposure; cancer.

View a list of current and past research projects along with a brief description of the skill sets interns must possess to qualify for consideration for each specific project. The Program Steering Committee and the Program Director together match accepted interns to mentors/research projects based on skills and interests.

Our steering committee determines the priorities of our program, manages its organization and activities, and maintains the highest standards of integrity for all who lead and participate.

Ruth Browne, ScD
Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health

Gary Butts, MD
Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs, Icahn School of Medicine

Dave Kotelchuck, PhD, MPH
Urban Public Health Program, City University of New York

Danielle Ompad, PhD
Center for Epidemiologic Studies, New York Academy of Medicine

Lizbeth Lopez-Carrillo, PhD, MPH
Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, Mexico (National Institute of Public Health)