A new fellowship is available to undergraduate students at The University of New Mexico interested in careers in medicine, health professions, public health policy, and health research in Native American communities. Twenty students will be selected to participate in the Spring 2023 as Health Research Fellows.

Any student enrolled full-time in a UNM undergraduate degree program is eligible to apply. The deadline for interested students to apply is Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022. Selection priority will be given to students who are planning a career in medicine, health professions, public health policy or health research. Selected students will receive a $500 stipend.

As a Health Research Fellow, students will explore various topics and share their observations with UNM peers and the public, explained Tim Schroeder, director of the Undergraduate Research, Arts and Design Network. Topics include:

  • Health research methods and approaches most preferred by Native American communities
  • How research and public health policy are developed in Native communities
  • How partnerships can be created to strengthen research benefits to those communities
  • How public health research, practice and policy differ for Native Americans in off-reservations settings
  • Native-defined ethical practices in health research, and
  • Important historical perspectives in Native community health research.

“The goal of the fellowship is to educate the future health and public health workforce in culturally-informed ways that ensure the delivery of ethical and effective health research and public policy for Native American communities in New Mexico and beyond,” Schroeder said.

Fellows will meet as a group weekly throughout the Spring 2023 semester with a workshop or structured activity every other week focused on the topics above. The fellowship will also include mentoring, structured peer conversations, and work on student final projects, as well as engaging with Native American community leaders, researchers, and policy makers.

Student researchers will develop projects of their own design. The first fellowship session will help them conceptualize and plan their projects. Projects will be presented during a special session of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Conference in April 2023. For those who consent, projects will also be posted online on the URAD and the Center for Native American Health websites.

Projects could focus on such topics as communicating a specific Native American research project to the public, communicating the value and effectiveness of Native American leadership on health research projects, creating an overview of ethical health research practices as defined by Native American leaders and health practitioners, or helping non-Native researchers learn the importance of Native ways of knowing and/or historical Native research approaches.  

“Among the benefits of participating in the fellowship is building peer and professional connections to others who are committed to healthy Native American communities and listing the fellowship on your resume and grad school applications,” Schroeder noted. 

If you have any questions about becoming a Health Research Fellow, email Schroeder.

For details about the application process, including the essay, go to the URAD website.

The UNM Undergraduate Fellowship: Introduction to Health Research in Native American Communities program is sponsored by the UNM HSC Center for Native American Health, in collaboration with leaders from UNM American Indian Student Services, UNM Native American Studies, the Division for Equity and Inclusion, the University College Pre-Health Professions Student Development Program, and the UNM Research, Arts & Design Network.