Engaging minority high school students as health disparities interns: findings and policy implications of a summer youth pipeline program.


Rashied-Henry K1, Fraser-White M, Roberts CB, Wilson TE, Morgan R, Brown H, Shaw R, Jean-Louis G, Graham YJ, Brown C, Browne R.



The purpose of this paper was to describe the development and implementation of a health disparities summer internship program for minority high school students that was created to increase their knowledge of health disparities, provide hands-on training in community-engaged research, support their efforts to advocate for policy change, and further encourage youth to pursue careers in the health professions.


Fifty-one high school students who were enrolled in a well-established, science-enrichment after-school program in Brooklyn, New York, participated in a 4-week summer internship program. Students conducted a literature review, focus groups/interviews, geographic mapping or survey development that focused on reducing health disparities at 1 of 15 partnering CBOs.


Overall, student interns gained an increase in knowledge of racial/ethnic health disparities. There was a 36.2% increase in students expressing an interest in pursuing careers in minority health post program. The majority of the participating CBOs were able to utilize the results of the student-led research projects for their programs. In addition, research conclusions and policy recommendations based on the students’ projects were given to local elected officials.


As demonstrated by our program, community-academic partnerships can provide educational opportunities to strengthen the academic pipeline for students of color interested in health careers and health disparities research.

J Natl Med Assoc. 2012 Sep-Oct;104(9-10):412-9.

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