REU: Social Network Analysis for Solving Minority Health Disparities

Join us in essential, interdisciplinary research to help eliminate health disparities among minorities.

For information contact

Kim Gocchi Carrasco
MHD Program Coordinator
402-472-5976
kstarlin2@unl.edu

2016 Minority Health Disparities Scholars.
2016 Minority Health Disparities Scholars.

Application Dates

Nov 15 2016 App opens
February 1 Priority deadline
March 1 App closes
April 1 Decisions complete

Program Dates

June 4 2017 Arrival day
June 5 Program begins
August 9 Program ends
August 10 Departure day

Who should apply


Related fields

  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Communication Studies
  • Public Health
  • Political Sciences
  • Anthropology
  • Child, Youth, and Family Studies
  • Educational Psychology
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Nutrition
  • Other health related fields

In this program, each project has unique prerequisites. See project descriptions below for details.

Eligibility

Participation in the Nebraska Summer Research Program is limited to students who meet the following criteria:
  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Current undergraduate with at least one semester of coursework remaining before obtaining a bachelor's degree

See Eligibility for more information.

How to apply

Follow the application steps to submit the following materials.

About the Program

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Minority Health Disparities Initiative (MHDI) administers the Minority Health Disparities REU, which is an interdisciplinary program aimed at conducting cutting edge social and behavioral research into understanding and reducing health disparities and in diversifying minority health researchers.

This project takes place under support of a Summer REU grant from the National Science Foundation for research in social network analysis (SNA) and minority health. As part of that program, participating students will learn basic approaches to network science/SNA in order to employ these skills where possible in their summer research projects. SNA instruction will take place during a 2-week intensive class led by Kirk Dombrowski (Professor of Sociology, UNL), scheduled for the first two weeks of the program. Training will be used to enrich the students experience in their partner laboratories during the subsequent 8 weeks. The primary student outcome of this part of the summer research experience will be an introductory facility in social network terminology, visualization, and exploration.

The Minority Health Disparities students and faculty celebrate a successful summer at the research symposium.
The Minority Health Disparities students and faculty celebrate a successful summer at the research symposium.

Participating students work with faculty mentors in a variety of social and behavioral science disciplines to support health research.  All projects are on-going, but the work specific to the summer research program will be completed within the 10-week timeframe.  At the conclusion of the program, participants will present their research at the Summer Research Symposium poster session.

Benefits

  • Competitive stipend: $5,000
  • Suite-style room and meal plan
  • Travel expenses to and from Lincoln
  • Campus parking and/or bus pass
  • Full access to the Campus Recreation Center and campus library system
  • Wireless internet access

Learn more about academic and financial benefits.

Events

  • Department seminars and presentations
  • Professional development workshops (e.g., applying to graduate school, taking the GRE)
  • Welcome picnic
  • Day trip to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo
  • Canoe and camping trip
  • Research symposium

Mentors and Projects

Network Risk of HIV & HCV Infection in Rural Puerto Rico

Prerequisites: This project requires basic research methodology experience – in particular social statistics, familiarity with Excel, and locating scholarly journals through library databases.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Minority Health Disparities Initiative (MHDI) administers the Minority Health Disparities REU, which is an interdisciplinary program aimed at conducting cutting edge social and behavioral research into understanding and reducing health disparities and in diversifying minority health researchers.

The Nain Networks Project

Prerequisites: This project requires basic research methodology experience – in particular social statistics, and locating scholarly journals through library databases.

This project investigates eight social network domains of the residents of the Northern community of Nain, Labrador. Socio-demographic and network data were collected between January and June, 2010 from interviews with 330 adult residents. The emphasis of this project will be on the use of network descriptive techniques and statistical analysis to study the relationships between these network domains.

Asst. Prof. Christopher Gustafson & Asst. Prof. Liz VanWormer Agricultural Economics

The perceived value of girls' and boys' education among three ethnic groups in Tanzania

Prerequisites: Basic research methodology experience, familiarity with Excel, and locating scholarly journals through library databases.

Data were collected with 196 households from three pastoralist/agro-pastoralist ethnic groups in rural Tanzania on the perceived benefits of formally educating girls and boys, as well as households' actual education decisions. These three groups have not traditionally participated significantly in the formal education system, despite Tanzania's goals to achieve universal primary school attendance. The surveyed households are drawn from 21 villages comprising two contiguous geographical divisions. Information is available on the ethnic group of each household, the village the household lives in, household location, school location, school fees, and, among other information, male and female household leaders' education levels. Preliminary analysis indicates that the education choices of a household's neighbors predicts the education choices of the household itself, suggesting network effects. Households provided open-ended responses to questions about the value of education for girls and boys, which needs to be coded for analysis. 

Asst Prof. Angela Palmer-Wackerly Communication Studies

Supportive Communication, Identity, and Well-being in Rural and Sensitive Health Situations

Prerequisites: Basic research methodology experience, familiarity with Excel, and locating scholarly journals through library databases.

This research project focuses on health communication and the ways in which it can be used to improve supportive communication between individuals, family members, and health care providers. More specifically this focuses on how and why supportive communication that is inclusive of individuals' and families' values and goals can increase well-being. Likewise, this project involves community-based participatory research and mixed methods projects that involve recruiting patients and families in medical and rural contexts, where trust in medical and research institutions is low.

Dr. Lorey Wheeler Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools

The Interplay between Stress and Social Settings on Mexican-Origin Youth’s Behavioral and Physical Health

This project examines the interplay between ecological stress (e.g., discrimination, economic hardship) and proximal (e.g., family/peer/work) and structural (e.g., cultural, social) influences and how they shape the behavioral and physical health of Mexican-origin youth. Working with a faculty mentor, the opportunities for students include locating and synthesizing literature, learning about a large national dataset, and/or analyzing quantitative data.