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Community and Global Health Research

We are delighted that you are considering research in Community & Global Health (CGH)! Please begin your search for a mentor by consulting the CGH approved mentor list. If you would like to work with a mentor not on this list, you must receive permission from the Research Director.

Community Health

“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

Community Health research engages communities and speeds the adoption, integration, implementation, and evaluation of policies and practices to improve population health. The spectrum of research includes clinical practice, public health, and community-based participatory research. Particular foci include health risks and diseases; obstacles to achieving optimal health; sociocultural, historical and clinical aspects of caring for underserved populations; barriers to diagnosis and treatment, and strategies and 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 and provide unique opportunities to impact health at the community and population level.

Global Health

“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 U.S. from a comprehensive and holistic perspective. Following The Lancet (June 2, 2009), 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, sociocultural determinants of health and health behavior, health care delivery, basic science, clinical investigation, and implementation science.

Community and 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

Dr. Heimburger directs the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH)’s education and training programs for Vanderbilt students and trainees as well as research training opportunities for doctoral and postdoctoral trainees from other institutions and other countries. His principal research and publication interests are nutritional influences on responses to treatment for HIV/AIDS in developing countries and global health education. Dr. Heimburger conducts clinical nutrition research in a population of undernourished Zambians starting antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS, initiated during a Fulbright Scholar Award-supported sabbatical in Zambia in 2006. He received his M.D. from Vanderbilt, conducted his internal medicine residency at St. Louis University, and completed his clinical nutrition fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He is board-certified in internal medicine and clinical nutrition.