For information contact
MHD Program Coordinator
Who should apply
- Child, Youth, and Family Studies
- Communication Studies
- Educational Psychology
- Ethnic Studies
- Political Sciences
- Public Health
- Other health related fields
In this program, each project has unique prerequisites. See project descriptions below for details.
EligibilityParticipation 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
This project takes place under the support of a Summer REU grant from the National Science Foundation. This program explores community-engaged methods for conducting health equity research. As part of that program, participating students will receive training in multiple community-engaged research approaches, including community-based participatory research (CBPR), social network and other decentralized community methods, community-engaged research in clinical settings, and community-engaged approaches with children.
Based on these trainings, students will develop hypotheses and learn about conducting health disparities related research in order to employ these skills where possible in their summer research projects. These trainings will take place during the first week of the program and will be led by MHDI Core Faculty. Training will be used to enrich the students' experience during the subsequent 9 weeks. During this time, students will work with faculty members, postdoctoral students, graduate students, and others on an individual research project using data that has already been collected. At the conclusion of the program, participants will present their research at the Summer Research Symposium poster session.
- Competitive stipend: $6,000
- 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 and Aquarium
- Outdoor adventures
- Research symposium
Mentors and Projects
Inequities in Chronic Disease, Mental Health, and Service Access
These data come from 12 years of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Dr. Andrews has compiled several NHANES datasets to examine inequities across chronic diseases such as diabetes, cholesterol, and other cardiovascular disease. The compiled dataset also contains information about depression, alcohol use, substance use, and health insurance. An example project from prior undergraduate theses examined how rates of routine healthcare utilization changed for Latinx populations following the implementation of the ACA by comparing utilization across data collection periods.
COVID-19 as a traumatic event among Latinxs in Nebraska
This study currently has approximately 150 participants with multiple waves of data collection (most participants did not complete all waves). The study examines exposure to COVID-19, loss of loved ones due to the disease, traumatic event exposure, a novel assessment of whether COVID-19 is traumatic, social support, vaccination status, vaccination hesitancy, barriers to vaccination, and mental health symptoms.
Disaster-focused mobile mental health
This study tested a mobile mental health intervention with victims of the 2017 hurricane outbreak. It utilized a large-scale randomized control trial design to test the effectiveness and use of the application. The app was designed to treatment depression, PTSD, sleep difficulties, and anxiety. The app represents a collaborative effort across multiple universities and potential projects would need approval from other members of the research team, but multiple avenues of data analyses are possible.
Dr. Katie Edwards, Ramiro Angelino, Merle Huff Educational Psychology
Sexual Assault Among Sexual Minority Men
Sexual Assault Among Sexual Minority Men is a research project to better understand sexual assault experiences among sexual minority men in the U.S., including cis and trans men and transmasculine people, to inform affirming prevention and response efforts. Almost half of sexual minority men experience adult sexual assault victimization in their lifetime, and as many as 30% of sexual minority men report lifetime adult sexual assault perpetration. Although rates of victimization and perpetration among sexual minority men are alarmingly high, even when measured over short periods of time, little research has examined risk and protective factors for adult sexual assault victimization or perpetration.
Dr. Katie Edwards, Dr. Rochelle Dalla, Janella Kang Educational Psychology
Preventing Sex Trafficking Among Racially/Ethnically Diverse High School Students
The purpose of this project is to prevent sex trafficking among racially and ethnically diverse high school students in Des Moines, Iowa. Researchers and community partners will collaborate with Des Moines Public Schools to deliver the READY to Stand Curriculum™ to high school students and school personnel and evaluate its effectiveness. Multiple evaluation methods will be used to measure program impact.
Dr. Katie Edwards, Dr. Joseph Gardella, Alex Farquhar-Leicester Educational Psychology
Promoting Resilient Youth with Strong Hearts and Minds (PRYSHM) Project
The PRYSHM Project (Promoting Resilient Youth with Strong Hearts and Minds Project) seeks to develop and evaluate an online program for LGBTQIA2S+ teens, ages 15 to 18. The program aims to help LGBTQ+ teens feel acceptance and pride in their LGBTQIA2S+ identities, and to empower them to make healthy decisions consistent with their personal values, hopes and goals for the future.
Dr. Katie Edwards, Melissa Olson Educational Psychology
Culturally-Grounded Sexual Violence Prevention for Native Youth
This project will establish and evaluate an Indigenous-led sexual violence prevention center on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The expected impact is to reduce sexual violence among Indigenous persons throughout the U.S., and to provide all Indigenous K-12 youth with the opportunity to receive a culturally adapted version of IMpower by 2050. The collaborative effort is funded by a $3.2 million University of Nebraska–Lincoln Grand Challenges Catalyst Competition grant.
Dr. Patrick Habecker Rural Drug Addiction Research Center, Sociology
Rural Substance Use in Puerto Rico and Nebraska
In the United States, substance use and its associated health risks have traditionally been considered an urban problem. However, rural areas have seen a recent increase of HIV, hepatitis C, and deaths from overdoses. In response, we have developed several research projects to examine rural substance use.
Dr. Tierney Lorenz Psychology
Social and Cultural Determinants of Mental and Sexual Health
Dr. Lorenz has three projects that students can choose from, depending on their interests. Each project includes measures of social and cultural determinants of mental and sexual health that could support student interests in health disparities that systematically impact women and gender minority people.
Dr. Timothy Nelson, Eric Phillips Department of Psychology
Executive Control and Adolescent Health Trajectories
This project examines the interplay between specific aspects of cognitive development (particularly executive control), key health behaviors (e.g., diet, sleep, physical activity, substance use), and health outcomes (including mental and physical health) in a longitudinal study design. The project involves a community longitudinal sample that was originally recruited in preschool and followed throughout childhood and adolescence, with rich repeated measures of cognitive abilities, select health behaviors, home and neighborhood environments, mental health, and physical health. The cohort was oversampled for sociodemographic risk, creating an ideal context for exploring health disparities.
Dr. Lorey Wheeler Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools
Sociocultural Influences on Youth’s Health and Educational Outcomes
Health and educational disparities result in serious public health problems for large and growing subgroups of families in the U.S. Dr. Wheeler’s research primarily focuses on immigrant and Latinx subgroups in the U.S., who are at risk for exposure to systemic marginalization and resulting stressors (e.g., discrimination, acculturative stress), in addition to economic hardship, poverty, school dropout, and work that requires little formal education, all of which further threaten health and well-being. There is a need to understand resilience-based mechanisms that may help promote and support positive health and developmental outcomes, which are key for developing successful programming that supports health and educational equity for marginalized populations.