Diversity & Inclusion Programs for Students Interested in Health & Life Sciences

There are many specialized health and life sciences research programs available to underrepresented students who are pursuing majors related to health and life sciences.  These are just a few of the programs that offer training and mentorship opportunities designed for current undergraduate students and recent grads looking for gap year possibilities.

Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP)  Many talented minority students approach college graduation not quite ready to jump into graduate training. Some students discover research late in their college careers and need more research experience to compete for top Ph.D. and M.D.-Ph.D. programs. Recent college graduates seeking additional basic and translational research training should look into PREP.

The Summer Internship Program (SIP) at John Hopkins University provides experience in biomedical and/or public health research to students from diverse backgrounds – including students from racial/ethnic groups underrepresented in science and medicine, students from low-income/underserved backgrounds, and students with disabilities. The program provides research exposure for students interested in potential careers in science, medicine and public health.

Cybersecurity Talent Initiative A cross-sector program for recent graduates in cyber-related or STEM-based degree programs. Applications are open until November 11, 2022.  Students in undergraduate or graduate degree programs in a cybersecurity-related field, such as computer science, engineering, information systems and mathematics are ideal candidates for this program. Federal agencies will make offers across spring and summer of 2023, and most agency placements will start in the summer or fall of 2023. Completion of cyber-related degree prior to federal agency start date is required. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or national (a resident of American Samoa or Swains Island) and have outstanding student loans.  

Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD)  A goal of the IMSD program is to provide students personal and professional development counseling to enhance their growth and skills for success in a biomedical research career. Program activities provide a fellowship and social network with peers, which can reduce psychological stress and isolation at a large institution.

Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC).  The goal of the MARC program is to develop a diverse pool of undergraduates who complete their baccalaureate degree, and transition into and complete biomedical, research-focused higher degree programs (e.g., Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D.). MARC is an undergraduate student training program for institutions with research-intensive environments.

Project ONRAMP, a program sponsored by four Massachusetts-based organizations with the goal of giving first-generation students from low-income backgrounds a steppingstone to careers in the biotech industry. Internships play a big role in this career path but can be hard to come by for students who may not know how to secure an internship, don’t have personal connections to people in the industry or are unaware that working in biotech is a viable career option.

The Pfizer Breakthrough R&D Rotational Program is a 2-year program. Participants will be immersed into the pharmaceutical business through three to four unique 6- to 8-month job rotations in diverse R&D disciplines. Each rotation will involve meaningful assignments and projects, mentorship and coaching, and collaborative interactions to develop business acumen and technical expertise and set participants on the path to a pharmaceutical career. Recent or near graduates who identify as historically underrepresented in STEM, with a particular focus on Black and Latinx students, are encouraged to apply.

Latino/a Emerging Leaders Fellowship, created in collaboration between CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) and the National Hispanic/Latino Prevention Technology Transfer Center (NHL-PTTC) offers a nine-month program offering leadership development and capacity building for 5 emerging leaders within the field of substance misuse prevention and community development. The Latino/a Emerging Leaders Fellowship supports bilingual and multilingual Spanish and Portuguese speaking emerging leaders and community change agents who are actively working to address substance use and misuse.  Participants will also complete a capstone project and work toward achieving a Prevention Specialist Certification.

APS/IBM Research Internship for Undergraduate Women and Underrepresented Minorities  The American Physical Society and IBM co-sponsor two undergraduate research internship programs: the APS/IBM Research Internship for Undergraduate Women, and the APS/IBM Research Internships for Underrepresented Minority Students. The goal of these internships is to encourage women and underrepresented minorities to pursue graduate studies in science and engineering.  Any student who identifies as a woman and an underrepresented minority is eligible to apply to both internships.

Summer Undergraduate Minority Research Program ( SUMR) is a program is an endeavor by the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) and the Health Care Management Department of the Wharton School to provide underrepresented minority undergraduate students, or anyone who is interested in an opportunity to explore the exciting field of health services research.

CDC Undergraduate Public Health Scholars (CUPS) Program and the Dr. James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases RISE Fellowship (Ferguson Fellowship) is found at a variety of colleges.

These programs prepare a diverse body of students to consider public health as a career to help ensure a future where an increasingly diverse American public benefits from a more diverse and better trained public health workforce. During their internships, students work in a variety of public health settings including community organizations, health departments, university-based programs, and federal agencies.  Students will accumulate a variety of skills and knowledge including a focus on epidemiology, fundamentals of public health, minority health and health disparities, working with disproportionately impacted populations, and biostatistics and statistical software.  For a complete listing of the opportunities available, visit : https://www.cdc.gov/healthequity/features/cups/index.html

Graduate Education for Minorities (GEM) Fellowship Program  Provides funding for underrepresented students looking to pursue Master’s and Doctoral degrees in applied science and engineering.  The mission of The National GEM Consortium is to enhance the value of the nation’s human capital by increasing the participation of African Americans, American Indians, and Hispanic Americans at the master’s and doctoral levels in applied science and engineering.

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)  Sponsored by Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, SURF is a great way to build your skills as a young scientist or test your inclinations toward research for 10 weeks. This program is partially funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Talent Development and Innovation and Sciences (TDIS) Summer Internship is designed to complement students’ academic learning with rich summer experiences that are designed to develop them professionally and instill in them an appreciation for innovation in STEM-related programs, NSF-funded projects, and STEM careers.  The internship also increases a students’ awareness of the circumstances that prevent minority students from receiving a quality STEM education; as well as provide them opportunities to conduct research to become familiar with NSF programs and strategies to address issues related to under-representation in STEM.

To search for additional programs, here are several internship and fellowship databases to assist you in your search  :


By Malakia Silcott
Malakia Silcott Assistant Director