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Immersion research education: students as catalysts in international collaboration research

Authors

  • K.H. Anderson ARNP, LMFT, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Professor, School of Nursing, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
      Kathryn Hoehn Anderson, School of Nursing, Georgia Southern University, PO Box 8158, Statesboro, GA 30460, USA; Tel: 305-725-4727; Fax: 912-478-0532; E-mail: khanderson@georgiasouthern.edu.
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  • M.L. Friedemann RN, PhD,

    1. Professor Emerita, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA
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  • A. Bűscher RN, PhD,

    1. Professor, Faculty of Business Administration and Social Sciences, University of Applied Sciences Osnabrűck, Osnabrűck, Germany
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  • J. Sansoni RN, EdD,

    1. Associate Professor, Department of Public Health and Infectious Disease – Nursing Area, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
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  • D. Hodnicki FNP-BC, PhD, FAAN

    1. Professor, School of Nursing, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
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  • Funding: The work on this project/study was supported by ‘Training in Chronic Illness Research in Georgia and Abroad’ (T37MD001489) from the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health, USA, K. Anderson (PI).The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

  • Conflicts of interest: No conflict of interest has been declared by the authors.

Kathryn Hoehn Anderson, School of Nursing, Georgia Southern University, PO Box 8158, Statesboro, GA 30460, USA; Tel: 305-725-4727; Fax: 912-478-0532; E-mail: khanderson@georgiasouthern.edu.

Abstract

ANDERSON K.H., FRIEDEMANN M.L., BŰSCHER A., SANSONI J. & HODNICKI D. (2012) Immersion research education: students as catalysts in international collaboration research. International Nursing Review

Background:  This paper describes an international nursing and health research immersion program. Minority students from the USA work with an international faculty mentor in teams conducting collaborative research. The Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) program students become catalysts in the conduct of cross-cultural research.

Aim:  To narrow the healthcare gap for disadvantaged families in the USA and partner countries.

Methods:  Faculty from the USA, Germany, Italy, Colombia, England, Austria and Thailand formed an international research and education team to explore and compare family health issues, disparities in chronic illness care, social inequities and healthcare solutions. USA students in the MHIRT program complete two introductory courses followed by a 3-month research practicum in a partner country guided by faculty mentors abroad. The overall program development, student study abroad preparation, research project activities, cultural learning, and student and faculty team outcomes are explored.

Results:  Cross-fertilization of research, cultural awareness and ideas about improving family health occur through education, international exchange and research immersion. Faculty research and international team collaboration provide opportunities for learning about research, health disparities, cultural influences and healthcare systems. The students are catalysts in the research effort, the dissemination of research findings and other educational endeavours. Five steps of the collaborative activities lead to programmatic success.

Conclusions:  MHIRT scholars bring creativity, enthusiasm, and gain a genuine desire to conduct health research about families with chronic illness. Their cultural learning stimulates career plans that include international research and attention to vulnerable populations.

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