Today, one in every four Americans belongs to a racial or ethnic minority group. Yet despite tremendous advances in health science in recent decades, minorities still have much higher rates of heart disease, many cancers, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS than whites.

Clearly, it's going to take more than medicine alone to change this fact. It will take health services researchers who can understand the political, social, economic and environmental realities that have created such deep disparities in health and health care - researchers whose minority perspectives can shape a wider discussion.

To prepare top candidates to pursue careers in health services research, the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) and the Health Care Management Department of the Wharton School co-sponsor a summer program for rising undergraduate sophomores, juniors and seniors from underrepresented minority groups, or anyone interested in exploring the field of health services research. The SUMR program provides students with a stipend to conduct health services research on a topic of their choice, under the guidance of Penn faculty. SUMR alumni cite this mentored research experience as key in their career decisions, and some have even become first authors on peer-reviewed publications because of it! For example:

Tammy Jiang (SUMR '15): Emotional responses to unintentional and intentional traumatic injuries among urban black men: A qualitative study. Injury

Hillary Bonuedie (SUMR '14): Telephone vs. web-based prescreening predicts early but not overall physician response to a mailed survey. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology

Randall Burson (SUMR '13): Community pharmacies as sites of adult vaccination: a systematic review. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics

This program is supported by LDI, the VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP), the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB), Wharton’s Deputy Dean’s office, the Provost’s Diversity Fund, the Public Policy Initiative (PPI), the Office of Inclusion and Diversity, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE), the Center for Public Health Initiatives (CPHI), the Masters of Science in Health Policy Research Program (MSHP) and mentors’ research grants.