SUMR Program Takes Flight
It started small, as a supplement to a training grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Policy (AHRQ). The initial goals were modest: to encourage undergraduates from underrepresented minority groups to consider applying to Wharton's doctoral program in Health Care Management. The Summer Undergraduate Minority Research Program (SUMR) was founded by Joanne Levy in 2000 with a cohort of three Penn students, selected from an applicant pool of 13. It has since become one of the most successful pipeline programs in the country, providing a three-month research experience and individual mentoring by LDI faculty to 18-20 students each year. The program has supported 212 scholars thus far (including 99 from other universities). Nearly all have continued in health-related fields, with 26% in medical school or residency programs, 27% working in health services research or health policy, and 15% in doctoral or postdoctoral programs.
Thirteen women and seven men make up this year's cohort, and they come from 13 universities in 10 states. The cohort includes nine African Americans, four Hispanics, and eight first-generation college students. They are the future of our field.