CDC Undergraduate Public Health Scholars (CUPS) Program

students at a CUPS event

Learn about programs that provide valuable exposure to a wide range of public health opportunities and see what past program participants have to say about their experience.

CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) supports internship opportunities for eligible undergraduate and graduate students to gain meaningful experiences in public health settings.

Why Does CUPS Matter?

The CUPS program prepares a diverse body of students to consider public health as a career to ensure a future where the American public benefits from a more diverse and better trained public health workforce. According to data from the 2017 National Population Projection Report of the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2045, more than half of all Americans will belong to a racial/ethnic minority group (any group other than non-Hispanic White alone).

A core area of study and practice during the internship is related to the health needs of U.S. minority and other populations who often are underserved and underrepresented in the field. During their internships, students work in a variety of public health settings including community organizations, health departments, university-based programs, and federal agencies.

Students display a variety of skills and knowledge including a focus on epidemiology, fundamentals of public health, minority health and health disparities, working with special populations, and biostatistics and statistical software.

The following is a description of the opportunities at each institution:

  • Columbia University Medical Center – Summer Public Health Scholars Program (SPHSP)external icon– The Summer Public Health Scholars Program is a 10-week summer training program for undergraduates entering their junior or senior year and recent baccalaureate degree students who are undecided about their career goals. This is a rigorous program which includes Public Health coursework at Columbia University; hands-on field experience and immersion in a diverse, economically disadvantaged urban environment; seminars and lectures with public health leaders; and mentoring by faculty members, ensuring students’ exposure to the breadth and importance of public health as a career option.
  • Kennedy Krieger Institute – Maternal Child Health Careers / Research Initiatives for Student Enhancement-Undergraduate Program (MCHC/RISE-UP)external icon – The MCHC/RISE-UP Program is a 10-week summer public health leadership program designed for undergraduates in their junior and senior year and recent baccalaureate degree students (within 12 months of the MCHC/RISE-UP orientation). MCHC/RISE-UP focuses on the social determinants of health, elimination of health disparities, and evaluation and treatment of developmental disabilities.
  • Morehouse College – Project IMHOTEPexternal icon – Morehouse College’s Project IMHOTEP is an 11-week summer internship designed to increase the knowledge and skills of underrepresented minority students in biostatistics, epidemiology, and occupational safety and health, supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE). Interns will culminate their experience by developing a research manuscript suitable for publication in a scientific journal and giving an oral poster presentation to their peers, mentors and other public health professionals.
  • Morehouse College – Public Health Leader Fellowship Program (MC PHLFP) Programexternal icon – The CDC Public Health Leader Fellowship Program (PHLFP) is a rigorous 10-week summer program designed to prepare underrepresented, culturally sensitive, undergraduate students for leadership roles in the field of public health. A principal aim of the program is reducing health disparities.
  • University of Michigan School of Public Health – Future Public Health Leaders Program (FPHLP)external icon – The Future Public Health Leaders Program (FPHLP) is a 10-week residential program at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health (UM-SPH) designed to encourage underrepresented college students to consider careers in public health. The program is meant to foster knowledge of, excitement about, and commitment to health equity.
  • UCLA – Public Health Scholars Training Programexternal icon – The UCLA Public Health Scholars Training Program is an 8-week residential summer training program that will expose undergraduate students to the field of public health. The program provides undergraduate students the opportunity to explore the field of public health through hands-on training, structured workshops, group excursions, and leadership and professional development.
  • Kennedy Krieger Institute – Dr. James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program (Ferguson Fellows)external icon – The Dr. James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases RISE Fellowship Program is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-funded, a 10-week summer program that provides a research-based educational and professional development experience for students interested in infectious diseases, public health, mental health, maternal and child health and health disparities research.
The Future of Public Health

Learn about former students and what the CUPS experience means to them.

Janessa Aneke

Janessa Aneke

Janessa Aneke

School(s) Attended: Emory University, 2015; Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Doctorate (c)

CUPS Program:  Project IMHOTEP, 2015

Degrees Earned: Bachelor of Science, Biology

Current Workplace: Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Current Position: Doctoral Student

“Being a part of CUPS was impactful for my career in public health given the exposure the program provided. CUPS acquainted me to both work life at the CDC and other health organizations and opportunities in public health education and training. I completed CUPS/IMHOTEP directly after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, and the program allowed me to transition into the public health sphere while also continuing my career in the basic sciences. Lastly, CUPS introduced me to my place in public health by exposing me to career paths for basic scientists in public health.”

Lorraine Louise K. Francisco

Lorraine Louise K. Francisco, B.S.

Lorraine Louise K. Francisco, B.S.

School(s) Attended: University of Nevada, Las Vegas (undergrad; deferred my acceptance to grad school for PHAP)

CUPS Program:  FPHLP, 2015

Degrees Earned: Bachelor of Science, Health Care Administration & Policy, May 2016

Current Workplace: CDC’s Public Health Associate Program (PHAP)

Current Position:  Public Health Associate/Research Data Analyst

“As an associate in CDC’s PHAP, I worked at the local health department in Phoenix, Arizona in tuberculosis (TB) elimination research. The State of Arizona is one of the top refugee resettlements in the U.S., so I learned firsthand the unique challenges these communities face. More specifically, in TB research we advance health equity by continuously exploring ways to more effectively detect and treat TB infection among refugees and other foreign-born population groups both locally and nationwide. As a side project, I am also involved with quality improvement efforts within the health department.”

Page last reviewed: February 24, 2021