Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

School of Public Health gets grant to recruit minority students

The School of Public Health (SPH) has received a $4.2 million grant over five years to expand its minority undergraduate student recruitment and internship program.

The money comes from the Centers for Disease Control "National Minority Undergraduate Student Program: A Public Health Workplace Experience to Increase Minority Student Interest in Public Health."

The grant will enable SPH to expand the existing nationally recognized Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) — already run out of the Department of Health Management and Policy — to additional SPH departments.

This program expansion is called the U-M Future Public Health Leaders program (FPHL). The first cohort of 50 students will arrive in May 2012, with 25 each from the SPH departments of Health Behavior and Health Education, and Environmental Health Sciences.

Richard Lichtenstein, associate professor of health management and policy and principal investigator, says the grant draws upon the documented successful model that Health Management and Policy has used for the last 26 years.

"This grant will fortify the U-M School of Public Health's position as a national leader in the effort to increase diversity in the leadership ranks of the public health work force," Lichtenstein says.

Like the SEP, the FPHL program addresses the recognized need for a more diverse public health work force to eliminate health disparities and promote health equity, using a sustainable program. The objective of the FPHL is to create a national program that will recruit and expose highly qualified and promising underrepresented minority undergraduate students to the possibilities of a professional career or advanced degree in public health.

The SEP model is a great foundation and successful model from which to expand, Lichtenstein says. Of the SEP participants to date, 92 percent attended graduate school, and 140 out of 473 participants attended a school of public health.

Under the grant, selected students will spend the first week in an orientation at SPH learning about the foundations of public health, health disparities and leadership. The students also will meet various public health leaders and SPH alumni. A one-week orientation course in public health principles, science and approaches follows at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

Students in the program will live on campus while pursuing a full-time, eight-week public health internship at a local public health or community-based organization. They also will visit a variety of public health sites, take a GRE preparatory course, and attend seminars on graduate school/career preparation, mentoring and networking events.

An extensive set of programs and activities will follow students for two years after the program. Interested students should call Lichtenstein at 734-936-1316.