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Past Program Summaries

Program Awards

The Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) supports internship opportunities for qualified students at all levels of their education, to gain meaningful experiences in public health settings, in order to increase the capacity of the organizations in which these students will work in the future. See below for Past Programs and Students Projects that have taken place, providing valuable exposure to a wide range of public health opportunities.

2015 CUPS Program Highlights

One hundred seventy one undergraduate students and 10 graduate students completed its fourth year of the CDC Undergraduate Public Health Scholars Program (CUPS) and Dr. James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases Fellowship. The interns and fellows attended a three-day orientation at CDC in Atlanta from May 27–29, 2015. This event marked the official launch of the nine-to-10-week summer public health program that includes series of group discussions, information exchanges, and innovative learning opportunities that introduce students to CDC’s priorities, current public health initiatives, and emerging public health issues at the national and global level. Assigned project locations include CDC, academic institutions, and community-based organizations across the U.S.

The CUPS program is intended to expose undergraduate students interested in minority health to the field of public health research and practice. Ultimately, these students will join the public health workforce and contribute to the provision of high quality public health services and research. This hands-on experience will increase the interns’ awareness of the broad scope in public health careers. The five programs are administered by 4 institutions working in collaboration with the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity – Columbia University Medical Center, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Morehouse College, and the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

CUPS is aligned with the Dr. James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program, funded by the Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections (DPEI), National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), and administered by OMHHE. The nine-week Ferguson program provides full-time medical, dental, pharmacy, veterinary or public health graduate students with a comprehensive public health research experience in the field of infectious diseases, complemented by clinical and public health leadership opportunities. 

More than 40 CDC mentors have contributed to this successful program. Some mentors have collaborated with the OMHHE for years, and continue to participate in the mutually enriching experience.

2014 CUPS Program Highlights

The CDC Undergraduate Public Health Scholars Program (CUPS) completed its third year with 197 students gaining meaningful experiences in public health settings networking opportunities with public health professionals at CDC, academic institutions and community-based organization across the country.

Columbia, SPHSP   KKI, MCUR/RISE, PLUSS, and Ferguson   UMichigan, FPHLP   Morehouse, Project:IMHOTEP

Both 191 CUPS students and six Dr. James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program fellows started their summer experience with a visit to CDC for a three-day orientation in Atlanta, May 28–30, 2014. The event included a series of group discussions, information exchanges, and innovative learning opportunities that introduced students to CDC’s priorities, current public health initiatives, and emerging public health issues at the federal level.

Ferguson Fellows, 2014 CUPS participants spent their time in the program working on assigned projects that range from the study of social determinants of health, such as sociocultural factors related to HIV prevention among gay and bisexual men in the United States, to public health research focused on data and analysis.

Students were particularly interested in the Public Heath Round-Robins, during which CDC staff facilitated discussions with small groups of students.

More than 50 CDC mentors contributed to this effort in 2014.

2013 CUPS Public Health Students Welcomed

The CDC Undergraduate Public Health Scholars Program (CUPS) for students interested in public health careers kicked off its second year with a three-day orientation at the CDC Tom Harkin Global Communications Center. The enthusiastic group of 192 CUPS interns and 11 fellows with the Dr. James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program listened to and posed challenging questions for CDC scientists from across the agency.

CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, welcoming students to CDC and to public health.  Also pictured (left to right): Sam Gerber, CUPS Project Officer, Dr. Leandris Liburd, OMHHE Director, Dr. Kathleen Ethier, OADPG Acting Associate Director. Photo Credit: James Gathany, CDC. CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, welcomed students and congratulated them on their selection from more than 2,400 applicants. “When you get a summer internship opportunity you can take it in different ways. But you will find with this, as you will find with just about everything in your life: The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. You can always find people you can learn from, you can always find information you can absorb, and you can always find life experiences that become part of you and make you more able to do what you want to do. I hope this is a successful summer for you.”

The 10-week summer training program, coordinated by the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE), exposes students interested in minority health to the field of public health research and practice by providing hands-on, project-oriented assignments. It is expected that this exposure to public health programs will heighten interns’ awareness of and interest in public health careers. The Ferguson fellowship, administered by the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) in collaboration with the Kennedy Krieger Institute, provides hands-on experience at CDC and other sites for graduate students of underrepresented populations and those interested in addressing health disparities in medical, dental, veterinary, and pharmacy public health programs.

Leandris C. Liburd, PhD, MPH, Director of the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE), speaking to students about minority health issues. Photo Credit: James Gathany, CDC. The programs are in line with a larger HHS agenda,HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial & Ethnic Health Disparities, to increase the diversity of the public health workforce to better address the needs of the nation’s increasingly diverse population.

“By recruiting students who have an interest in minority health, the programs directly address the HHS goal of increasing the ability of all health professions to identify and address racial and ethnic health disparities,” said Leandris C. Liburd, PhD, MPH, director of the OMHHE.

In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Frieden discussed the role of public health in closing the implementation gap between what we know and what we do. “While we do research here at CDC, our focus is closing that implementation gap, not just for society in general but especially for the groups that suffer disproportionately from preventable conditions.”

During the three-day orientation, students heard directly from presenters from diverse public health disciplines (i.e., HIV/STD, public health informatics, chronic diseases, blood disorders, tribal support, public health preparedness) to examine program and policy efforts that address health disparities. Presenters also provided information on student internships, the public health workforce, and their own professional paths in public health fields.

Julio Dicent-Taillepierre, providing students with background on the CDC Undergraduate Public Health Scholars Program (CUPS). Also pictured: Sam Gerber, CUPS Project Officer. Photo Credit: James Gathany, CDC. “I liked that Dr. Frieden explained the breadth and complexity of public health; that public health is interdisciplinary and touches basically every dimension of life, from public policy to emergency response in catastrophes,” said Jean-Claude Velasquez, a student at Stony Brook University, NY, where he is pursuing a dual degree in political science and philosophy.

Students were particularly interested in the Public Heath Round-Robins, during which CDC staff facilitated discussions with small groups of students. “I especially enjoyed hearing people’s stories of how they chose to work with the CDC,” said Julia Soap, a Ferguson Fellow from the University of Kansas Medical Center. Soap comes from the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation based in Kansas. “I appreciated the opportunity to network with other students who are doing really amazing work in their own communities.”
CUPS participants will spend the balance of their time in the program working on assigned projects that range from the study of social determinants of health, such as “sociocultural factors related to HIV prevention among gay and bisexual men in the United States,” to public health reporting focused on metrics and analysis. They will conduct presentations at the conclusion of their projects.

Sonja S. Hutchins, MD, MPH, DrPH, FACPM (Capt, USPHS), senior medical advisor, OMHHE, guides roundtable discussion with students. Photo Credit: James Gathany, CDC. Liburd challenged students to consider their potential future roles in addressing the needs of vulnerable populations. “You embody the knowledge, creativity, stamina, and sense of urgency needed to achieve a healthy nation. We hope you can imagine yourself as a future player,” she said.

“I learned a lot about the health disparities plaguing the United States and some potential ways to lower these disparities. I also learned a lot about employment opportunities at the CDC and in the realm of public health. I loved being at the CDC,” said Zachery Glenn, a chemistry graduate from Jackson State University in Jackson, MS.

Interns at CDC - Summer 2012

CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity’s Summer Interns Have Arrived!
OMHHE Our summer interns have arrived and they’re off to an exciting start! Please join the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) in welcoming the 2013 CDC Undergraduate Public Health Scholars Program (CUPS) interns.

Project IMHOTEP: Thrity one interns were placed at four CDC Facilities (Morgantown, West Virginia, Spokane, Washington, Cincinnati, Ohio, and CDC Atlanta, Georgia. Morehouse, Project:IMHOTEP

The program is intended to expose undergraduate and graduate students to public health issues with an emphasis on minority health. Ultimately, we hope to improve the quality of public health services nationally by providing interns with opportunities to work in real-world public health settings. It is expected that the program will not only increase awareness of public health in practice, but also encourage students to pursue a career in public health.

This effort would not be possible without the help of more than 50 CDC mentors. Some of these mentors have been collaborating with OMHHE for years, and continue their involvement because it is a mutually enriching experience. We also want to welcome many new mentors who have expressed great enthusiasm for insuring the success of the next generation of public health workers.

CDC-based undergraduate interns will be joined by the other 169 interns and fellows from Columbia University, University of Michigan, and Kennedy Krieger Institute, who have been assigned to various public health settings, academic institutions, and community-based organizations across the country.

Dr. James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program

2012 Ferguson Fellows We also want to welcome the 11 graduate students participating in the 8-week Dr. James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases Fellowship this summer.

Six students have been assigned to CDC in Atlanta and five to Kennedy Krieger Institute and other affiliated public health organizations in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Ferguson fellowship is a professional development and experiential research program for graduate students in medical, dental, veterinary, pharmacy, and public health master’s-level graduate programs. The focus of the research conducted by the Ferguson Fellows is emerging and infectious diseases. This fellowship program is supported through collaboration with the Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections (DPEI) in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID).

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