REU: Social Network Analysis for Solving Minority Health Disparities

Join Us In Essential, Interdisciplinary Research To Help Eliminate Health Disparities Among Underserved Populations.

For information contact

Kim Gocchi Carrasco MHD Program Coordinator
2019 Minority Health Disparities REU students at the welcome picnic.
2019 Minority Health Disparities REU students at the welcome picnic.

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.


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’s 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 during the subsequent 8 weeks.

2019 Minority Health Disparities REU students at the research symposium.
2019 Minority Health Disparities REU students at the research symposium.

The primary student outcome of this part of the summer research experience will be an introductory facility in social network terminology, visualization, and exploration. At the conclusion of the program, participants will present their research at the Summer Research Symposium poster session.


  • 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.


  • 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
  • Outdoor adventures
  • Research symposium

Mentors and Projects

Network Risk of HIV & HCV Infection in Rural Puerto Rico

This project investigates the social network contexts of HIV and HCV infection drawing on data from four rural communities in Puerto Rico collected in 2014-5. The emphasis of this project will be on the use of block modeling and network statistical analysis to isolate indicators of high risk that result from dyadic relationships among injectors and the injection “roles” that result from these interactions. In the process, the student will help document HIV and HCV prevalence and incidence for injecting drug users in the region, which in turn will be used by the research team to develop a framework for interventions aimed at these unique problems.

Informal Networks in a Labrador Inuit Community

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. A community emerges from the social relationships that bind its members to one another. These relationships are constructed and maintained through specific actions that constitute network domains. Family ties are an example of one network domain.