Gehr Student Innovator Awards

Recording of Summer 2024 Informational Session


What: A summer program for health professional students to conduct mentored research with the goal of improving health care quality and equity. Students will also receive training in qualitative and quantitative research methods and meet healthcare leaders in the Los Angeles community and safety net who are involved in systems change. Each awardee will receive a $2500 stipend.

When: The 6-week program will go from June 17 – July 26, 2024Students must be devoted to the program full time during these weeks. Some preparatory meetings in the months leading up to the program in spring will be required. Students are also expected to stay involved with their research project for a total of 6 months.

Who is Eligible: Students in good academic standing who are enrolled in Medical School at USC’s Keck School of Medicine.

Students touring Homeless Health Care Los Angeles.

Program Description: During the 6-week program period, students will work with their assigned Gehr Center faculty or affiliate mentor on a research project. Students should read through the list of available projects ( on the Gehr Center website. After reviewing the list, students should identify 1-3 projects that they are interested in working on. Students may also wish to meet with Gehr faculty or affiliates regarding specific projects of interest to them.

There will also be a series of didactics led by USC faculty and seminars with healthcare leaders in the Los Angeles community during the program. Most will be on the health sciences campus however some seminars will be at locations throughout greater Los Angeles. The rest of the time will be unstructured, allowing students to work on their project and meet with their mentors.

Mentorship: Each student will be assigned to a Gehr Center faculty or affiliate mentor. 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.

Deliverables and Expectations: Students are expected to participate in all didactic and seminar sessions throughout the 6-week program and continue to stay involved with the research project for an additional 4 months. 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 developing an abstract and presenting their work at a final symposium on the USC Health Sciences campus. Students are also encouraged to submit their abstract to conferences to disseminate their research in peer-review publications, blogs, or other forms of media.

Students pose with Gehr Faculty after their final presentations.

Application Process and Timeline: Students should submit their CV and a personal statement describing why they are interested in a Gehr Student Innovator award by Friday, March 15, 2024 at 11:59 PM. This personal statement should describe the student’s current research interests, explain how their past experiences have led them to this field, outline their long-term career goals, describe any clinical practice experiences and/or program implementation experiences, and discuss the 1-3 projects that they are interested in working on. Please also describe your current research skills and include 2-3 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 mission and projects. 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 be assigned a mentor and project and will then work with their mentor to finalize their plans for the summer. Students will begin to develop a scope of work and SMART goals 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: Please 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

Questions? For questions about the application process, please contact Mrs. Alissa Maier at:

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