MCH Careers/Research Initiatives for Student Enhancement-Undergraduate Program (MCHC/RISE-UP) at Kennedy Krieger Institute: Cohort 2012, a Sucessful First Year

October 4, 2012

Website Link

The Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI) received funding from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Office of Minority Health and Health Equity to develop a national consortium of Universities and University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD).  This consortium provided public health leadership experiences in community engagement and advocacy, clinical and research learning tracks focusing on health disparities and maternal and child health for up to 50 undergraduate students from diverse populations. KKI partnered with its own Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities, the Center for Disabilities Sanford School of Medicine of The University of South Dakota, University of Southern California UCEDD/CA-LEND at Children's Hospital Los Angeles/California State University Los Angeles Minority Partnership Project, Morgan State University, Howard University, and Coppin State College to complete the first Cohort of 2012. 

MCHC/RISE-UP Lead Partner: KKI

Recruiting Strength

Race/Ethnic Demographics

Gender (male)


African American, Asian American, Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders

12 African American

2 Asian

1 White

1 Hispanic/Latino

2 male

USC and CalState-LA


11 Hispanic/Latino

3 Asian

1 Pacific Islander

1 African American

4 male


American Indian and Alaska Native

4 Native American

2 Asian

1 African American

1 Hispanic/Latino

0 male


Undergraduate students from across the United States were assigned to one of the three aforementioned UCEDD/LEND sites for a valuable summer experience in public health.  Students participated in a one-week orientation at Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins University Medical Institutions focused on health disparities in the areas of maternal and child health, urban health, and disabilities. Students then returned to their home site for an 8-week internship experience. 

Students selected from three leadership learning tracks, namely (1) community engagement and advocacy, (2) clinical, and (3) research. Each UCEDD/LEND site had multiple activities within each track. The majority of students participated in two tracks, usually clinical and research.

Students participated in mentored clinical experiences with physicians, allied health professionals, and community service providers.  Students worked with clinicians, participated in evaluation and treatment interventions, assisted in locating resources for patients in the community, and learned about health challenges confronting underserved populations and strategies to prevent disease and promote health and health equity.

Through interactions with state and local health departments, students in the community engagement and advocacy track increased their understanding of systems of health care and the collaboration between agencies and systems to promote health.  Students were exposed to the financing of health services in the U.S. and the methods of collecting and utilizing epidemiological data to inform Public Health and Maternal and Child Health policy.

Students also worked with research mentors on a wide range of public health, prevention, treatment, epidemiological, and health disparities studies. All students completed on-line courses in Human Subjects Protection and HIPPA Compliance certification. Students were encouraged to work with mentors to develop abstracts, oral presentations, and peer-reviewed manuscripts. 

A final culminating week was held at the CDC in Atlanta, GA (7/29/2012-8/3/2012). Students had the opportunity to listen and network with CDC officials from many Centers about their work and professional journeys.

Some student comments included: 

  • "Thank you for an amazing week at orientation. I learned valuable information and was inspired by the speakers, their individual journeys, and the level of devotion they invested in our success as young people. I returned home a different person. I am now a young aspiring public health professional with a new sense of responsibility and passion for reducing health disparities in the US! I am eager to start my journey in LA, have a great summer!" 
  • "I really enjoyed the CDC orientation and our internship program overall."
  • "I am so grateful and thankful for all of the experiences that I have had this summer in Baltimore and Atlanta. Our last day at the CDC consisted of more professional and student presentations. There was an awards ceremony today. Each of us was presented with a certificate from the CDC's Office of Minority Health and Health Equity for completing our summer program."
  • "I am [returning home] with a better understanding of public health and its role in health care. I have developed a greater sense of appreciation for public health professionals and their role in leading Americans towards reaching an optimal state of health. I am also very excited to one day join these very accomplished professionals at the CDC as a public health professional! So very excited about the future and looking forward to starting my new job at the County Health Department on Monday! "Description:

Finally, several students were able to obtain internship credit by completing additional assignments. One such account is a detailed blog of the summer experience located at the following link: