Community and Global Health Research

Community & Global Health Research Mentors

Students interested in Community & Global Health Research must work with an approved mentor. If a student would like to work with a mentor outside of this list, they must discuss with the appropriate Research Director for approval and guidance.

“Research that involves and engages communities is an important piece of the translational research spectrum and has the potential to speed the adoption, integration and implementation of policies and practices to improve population health.” - Consuelo Wilkins, MD, MSCI 

Emphasis Forum V pics May 2010 076.jpgCommunity Health research engages communities and speeds the adoption, integration, implementation and evaluation of policies and practices to improve population health. The spectrum of research in community health includes clinical practice, public health and community-based participatory research. Research in this area often addresses priorities identified by the community and embraces health issues that disproportionately affect specific populations, especially but not exclusively underserved populations. The issues of interest include health risks or diseases, obstacles to achieving optimal health, socio-cultural, historical and clinical aspects of caring for underserved populations, barriers to diagnosis and treatment, and strategies/interventions that motivate patients to practice positive health behaviors. Partnerships with community organizations, community clinicians and public health programs are essential to many research projects in community health and provide unique opportunities to impact health at the community and population level.

“The Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health has active collaborations in many countries in low- and middle-income countries that can provide fruitful opportunities for students. We are committed to helping students who are interested in global health to gain valuable and formative experiences and build global health skills.”  -​Douglas Heimburger,  MD, MS


Global Health research focuses on underserved populations in low- and middle-income countries as well as foreign-born populations (e.g., immigrants and refugees) in the United States from a comprehensive and holistic perspective. As noted in The Lancet, we define Global Health as “an area for study, research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide. Global Health emphasizes transnational health issues, determinants and solutions; involves many disciplines within and beyond the health sciences and promotes interdisciplinary collaboration; and is a synthesis of population-based prevention with individual-level clinical care.” Areas of investigation encompass both public health and biomedical science, including assessment of community needs and plans to meet those needs, socio-cultural determinants of health and health behavior, health care delivery, basic science, clinical investigation, and implementation science.


Community & Global Health Research Director

Douglas Heimburger MD, MS.jpg

Douglas Heimburger, MD, MS
Professor of Medicine
Associate Director
for Education and Training
Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health