• Research

    Advancing health equity with Mayo Clinic, UIUC pilot education program

By Amy Clay-Moore/University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Isela Villasenor and Brandon Snipe are the first two students to participate in the Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance’s new Health Equity Research Experience at Mayo Clinic (HERE), a pilot program for Illinois undergraduate students interested in conducting health equity research in a biomedical setting.

Isela Villasenor (left) and Brandon Snipe (right)

HERE emerged from a strong educational foundation that already existed through the Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance and at the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute (IHSI). Since 2010, the Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance has pre-selected a cohort of Illinois students to participate in the Mayo Clinic Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. In 2019, IHSI launched a Health Equity Scholars program to empower undergraduate students to work with a faculty mentor and a community organization on a research project focused on issues of health disparities (now the Community-Academic Scholars program).

Isela and Brandon are spending 10 weeks at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, where they are working with their faculty mentors on health equity research and community-based projects.

Brandon will be working with Megan A. Allyse, Ph.D., on biomedical ethics and health disparities at the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine. His project relates to analyzing the effects of Covid-19 on various populations using data from a mixed-methods community health assessment.

“This experience allows me to develop a stronger understanding of the various factors that contribute to health disparities and the interventions that can be used to address them," he says. "Overall, I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to learn what a health equity-centered career entails directly from professionals within the field.”

Read more of the article on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign website.

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