The undergraduate health disparities research scholars from Penn at the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting in the Baltimore Convention Center. (Photo: Hoag Levins)

BALTIMORE – Forty-two scholars from the University of Pennsylvania’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics undergraduate health disparities research programs have arrived here to take part in the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting (ARM). AcademyHealth is the country’s largest professional organization of researchers focused how the U.S. health care system is organized, financed, managed, and delivered.

The student from 26 universities and colleges are mostly undergrads with an interest in exploring careers in health services research, the scholars are part of three different Penn LDI summer-based programs that immerse them in a special curriculum, pairing each with Penn faculty mentors on real research projects. The three programs are the Summer Undergraduate Mentored Research (SUMR) program, Get Experience in Aging Research Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP), and Penn LDI Dental Summer Health Services Research Fellowship program.

Focus on Health Disparities

The programs are heavily focused on health and health care disparities and advancing the needs of underrepresented groups in health services, population health, and clinical epidemiology.

“The SUMR, GEAR UP, and HSR dental scholars are all incredibly excited to be here,” said Joanne Levy, MBA, MPC, LDI Director of Student Initiatives, Founding Director of the SUMR Program, and Associate Director of the Wharton School’s PhD Program in Health Management and Economics PhD Program. “In terms of immersing students in the health services research community, it doesn’t get better than bringing them to the annual AcademyHealth meeting. The experience puts them elbow-to-elbow with the leading national experts in their fields of interest.”

The four-day event at the Baltimore Convention Center includes hundreds of presentations, panels, workshops, networking pods, and research posters focused on areas like health care disparities, health care workforce diversity, research methods, and a wide variety of other related areas. The large expo hall’s booths are staffed by representatives of major universities with health care research curricula as well as federal regulatory agencies, and other health care organizations that recruit young researchers.

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