Cancer Disparities Internship

We are no longer accepting applications.

The University of Minnesota Medical School Program in Health Disparities Research, in collaboration with the Masonic Cancer Center, invites eligible undergraduate students to submit an application for the 11th Annual Health Disparities & Cancer Research Summer Internship. This program is a paid, full-time internship designed to give undergraduate students from Minnesota's racial/ethnic minority and underrepresented communities experience conducting cancer and/or health disparities research. The program also provides students opportunities to shadow clinicians at hospitals and clinics in the Twin Cities. Students interested in exploring or pursuing research or clinical career in a health professional field are encouraged to apply today!

Questions? Contact Mikow Hang at

Note: The Health Disparities and Cancer Research Summer Internship share its application with the CTSI Pathways to Research Program (PReP) Program.  Students may be considered for one or both of the programs by selecting their program choice(s) in the application.

Program Description

The Health Disparities & Cancer Research Summer Internship has 10 internship positions available for summer 2020.

  • The nine-week program runs from June 8, 2020 - August 7, 2020*.
  • This is a paid internship.
  • Accepted interns will be matched with a research mentor in the Masonic Cancer Center or Program in Health Disparities Research and assigned to a clinic within the Twin Cities. The matching process will begin prior to the start date.

During the program, participants will:

  • Learn how health disparities and cancer are addressed through community-engaged research
  • Engage in research related to faculty mentor’s area of investigation in basic biomedical, behavioral, translational, clinical, and/or community-based research
  • Attend weekly seminars and workshops on topics such as interdisciplinary research, applying for medical or professional schools, and the root causes of health disparities and cancer
  • Shadow a clinician for up to 28 hours during the internship
  • Participate in a community-service learning project
  • Present a poster to academic members and community partners in August

*program dates are subject to change

Program Expectations

Applicants accepted into the program must agree to the following:

  • Commit to work full-time (40 hours per week) during normal office hours (8:00am-5:00pm) for the duration of the nine-week program (Some evening and/or weekend hours may be required)
  • Engage in the mentor/mentee matching process
  • Attend the weekly seminar series and other required activities
  • Participate in the community-service learning project
  • Present a poster at the year-end symposium at the end of the program
  • Arrange accommodations, including transportation, parking, and lodging, if applicable
  • Provide legal documentation establishing eligibility to work in the United States
  • Be current on immunizations
  • Access to a laptop

*List is not exhaustive and may change. Expectations will be detailed in the acceptance letter.


  • December 2019: Applications open
  • February 3, 2020: Applications due
  • March/April 2020: Notification of award
  • April 2020: Mentor/Mentee Matching
  • June – August 2020: Internship Program
  • August 2020: Poster Session

*Timeline is subject to change without notice.


In order to participate in the internship program, applicants must be:

  • An incoming sophomore, junior, or senior undergraduate student. Students graduating in May 2020 are not eligible.
  • Enrolled in a two or four year college/university in Minnesota OR be a Minnesota resident attending a two or four year accredited college/university within the United States.
  • International students are allowed to apply; accepted applicants must be able to provide appropriate paperwork indicating they are eligible to work in the United States. 
  • Interested in pursuing a research career or a health science profession.
  • From historically marginalized communities and/or communities most impacted by health disparities. This may include students who self-identify with a racial/ethnic minority community, first generation college student, LGBTQ, rural and/or disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds, etc..


Application deadline is Monday, February 3, 2020 at 11:59 pm CST. No late applications will be accepted.

  1. Complete the online application. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.
  2. Applicants must submit two professional recommendations.

Note: You can save your application and return to finish it at a later time. When you exit the system, you should receive a return code. Contact us if you need access to the code.

Application Guidelines

The internship application consists of the following sections:

  • Background information
  • Essays - remember to spell check, review grammar, and address the entire question!
    • Personal Essay: Describe your academic and career goals, interest in human health research, how you will benefit from this program, what you want to learn or accomplish from this program, and any research experience you have had, if applicable. Please also address any specific personal challenges you have faced that have influenced your life and/or academic career. (2-page limit; 12 pt font; single-spaced)
    • Short Essay: Take a moment to think about a specific, diverse or underserved community within Minnesota and how it is impacted by health disparities. In your essay, describe one or two of the most critical health issues facing this Minnesota community. Give examples of how you, in your intended profession, i.e. nurse, researcher, medical doctor, community health worker, etc., would serve in this area of need. (No more than 500 words.)
  • College/university transcript (unofficial will suffice)
    • Upload your transcript as a PDF.
    • Emailed transcripts will not be accepted.
  • Resume (4 pages max). Include the following information:
    • Paid and upaid work experiences. Examples of unpaid work include working in a family business, taking care of siblings/elderly relative, etc…
    • Community service
    • Volunteer activities
    • Awards and achievements
    • Clubs/organizations
  • Letter of recommendation
    • Send the recommendation form, to two individuals to complete by Monday, February 3, 2020 at 11:59pm CST. Late submissions will not be accepted.
    • More than two recommendations will not be accepted.
    • Professional recommendations only; cannot include family members or friends

Review Criteria

The review committee will score applications based on the following criteria:

  • Academic merit
  • Essays
  • Motivation to work in health or research professions
  • Experience volunteering with diverse and underserved populations
  • Evidence of resiliency
  • Letters of recommendations