Gehr Student Innovator Awards

Join us on July 21st from 9-noon as our Gehr Student Innovators present their mentored implementation science and health services research work-in-progress focused on health equity.

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What: A summer fellowship program for health professional students to develop a mentored health care quality improvement or health services research project on the USC Keck Medical School campus. Students will also receive training in qualitative and quantitative research methods, and meet healthcare leaders in the Los Angeles community who are involved in patient improvement and systems change. We select 8-12 students each summer. Each awardee will receive a $1,500 stipend.

When: The 6 week program will go from June 13, 2022 – July 23, 2022. Students must be devoted to the program full time during these weeks. Some preparatory meetings in the months leading up to the program in spring 2020 will be required.

Who is Eligible: Students in good academic standing who are enrolled in a graduate level program with a health care interest at the University of Southern California (e.g. MD, PA, PharmD, PhD, MPH, PT, OT, DDS, MSW, and engineering).

Students touring Homeless Health Care Los Angeles.

Program Description: During the 6-week program period, students will develop a project in partnership with a Gehr Center faculty member. Students are encouraged to visit the Gehr Center website ( to see a list of active Center projects. After reviewing the list, students may wish to meet with Gehr faculty regarding specific projects of interest to them. While meeting with Gehr faculty to discuss specific projects is not an application requirement, it may be advantageous to do so. If none of the projects seems like a fit, students may also propose their own project idea. Again, students may wish to meet with Gehr faculty before submitting their application to obtain feedback on their idea.

Consistent with the goals of the Gehr Center, projects should:

  • Align with the mission of creating data driven research to improve healthcare and advance health equity
  • Result in contributions to science that can be shared through peer-review publication or some other dissemination vehicle

See the Gehr Center website for further details about the Center’s mission:

Mentorship: Each student will be assigned to a Gehr Center faculty member who will serve as their primary mentor for the summer. Students may also receive mentorship from others involved in their project, such as Gehr Affiliates, health system leaders, other faculty members, and community members as appropriate. At least one morning each week during the program period will be devoted to didactics led by Gehr Center faculty. There will also be a series of seminars with healthcare leaders in the Los Angeles community throughout the summer at locations throughout southern California. The rest of the time will be unstructured, allowing students to work on their project and meet with their mentors.

Students pose with Gehr Faculty after their final presentations.

Deliverables and Expectations: Students are expected to participate in didactic sessions with Gehr faculty as well as all seminars throughout the 6-week program. Students should be prepared to commute within Los Angeles for their projects or seminars as required. Carpooling and public transportation are strongly encouraged when possible. At the completion of the program period, each student is responsible for presenting their work at a final symposium on the USC Health Sciences campus. Students are also encouraged to submit abstracts on their work to conferences at USC and externally, as well as to consider writing up their work for peer-review publications, blogs or other forms of media.

Application Process and Timeline: Students should submit their online application by Sunday, March 27th at 11:59 PM. The application consists of a personal statement and CV. The personal statement should describe the student’s current research interests, explain how their past experiences have led them to this field, your long term career goals, and describe any clinical practice experiences and/or program implementation experiences. Please also describe your current research skills and include 2-3 SMART goals relating to the research skills you want to further develop during this program. Student will be selected based on the strength of their personal statements, research interests and experiences, and overall fit with the Gehr Center goals. Research experience is not required, but a strong interest in developing skills and producing academic outputs (e.g. posters, manuscripts) will be prioritized.

Project Development: After receiving an award, students will work with their mentors to finalize their plans for the summer. Ideally, students will have selected their project and begin to develop a scope of work before the program start date. There will be an orientation session in late spring after awardees have been selected.

Students touring Watts Labor Community Action Committee.

Submission Process: Application files need to be submitted online. In preparation, you will need to compile your application file into a single document and order it as follows:

  • Cover page with your name and the title of your personal statement
  • Personal Statement (1000 words maximum)
  • CV

Submit Online Application HERE


Questions? You may find additional information about the Gehr Center at  For questions about the application process, please contact Mrs. Alissa Maier at:

Download Current Active Projects List