September 6, 2021

SUMR Scholars' Key Takeaways From Working with Medical Ethics & Health Policy Faculty

The Summer Undergraduates Minority Research Program (SUMR) is a pipeline program aimed at preparing undergraduate students from underrepresented minority groups in exploring the field of health services research. The SUMR program is an initiative by the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and the Health Care Management Department of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is supported in part by the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy. Learn more about some of the SUMR scholars who worked on projects with our Medical Ethics and Health Policy faculty this summer below.

Devin Brown (MEHP Mentor: Kevin Volpp)

Project: ASCVD Initiative: Gamification and social incentives to augment medication adherence

"With the SUMR program’s ability to foster my newfound passion and interest for research, I now know that health services research must be a component of my future career as a public health professional."

Aditi Doiphode (MEHP Mentor: Harald Schmidt)

Project: CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index: analysis of uses and implementation

"SUMR has been a great way to meet other peers who are also interested in health equity and to immerse myself in this relevant and interesting research project."

Karim Farhat (MEHP Mentors: Atheendar Venkataramani and Matthew McCoy)

Projects: 1) Economic opportunity zones and the effect they have had on health outcomes in rural counties suffering most from the opioid crisis. 2) Digital health privacy and how hospital websites collect individuals' data and sell it to third-party advertisers

"My key takeaway from this great experience is that the most accomplished academics are those that accommodate their colleagues at every turn. The ability to not only research but also lead others in research is unique, and I believe it can amplify those around you to new heights."

Mamaswatsi Kopeka (MEHP Mentor: Harsha Thirumurthy)

Project: Association of time and risk preferences with health behaviors in Sub-Saharan Africa

"Working with Lizzie Bair and Professor Thirumurthy has been the most exhilarating learning experience; they believed in me from day one and were always available to answer any questions and offered extra-extra support – it has been incredible!"

Karishma Lachhwani (MEHP Mentor: Christina Roberto)

Project: Communicating the health risks of sugar-sweetened beverages: a randomized-controlled experiment of different nutrition labels on purchases and consumption

"Dr. Roberto is an amazing mentor. She does a wonderful job checking in, bringing the lab together, and giving us a bigger picture understanding of how our projects and day-to-day tasks relate to current food policy measures."

Elizabeth Madamidola (MEHP Mentor: Joanna Hart)

Project: Youth caregivers project

"I would say that I learned how patient you have to be with research but also how powerful quantitative research methods can be. Research projects are truly a team effort, and I learned how the impacts of research can be truly applied and used to change the health systems, instead of just being theoretical like I previously thought."

Amey Maley (MEHP Mentors: Ari Friedman and Matthew McCoy)

Project: An analysis of 3rd party tracking on hospital homepages

“This project brought to light the dynamic nature of our digital health footprints and how vulnerable it is to seemingly innocuous activities such as web browsing.”

Miles Meline (MEHP Mentor: Holly Fernandez Lynch)

Project: Clinical trial capacity at sites participating in the COVID-19 convalescent plasma expanded access program

"As someone who is extremely interested in the broad, interdisciplinary scope of bioethics research, a key takeaway for me would probably be that I gained direct health services research experience from a data-based perspective with exceptional mentorship and guidance from Holly (and from our other project mentor Sage Gustafson [NYU])."

Daniella Pena (MEHP Mentor: Holly Fernandez Lynch)

Project: Clinical trial capacity at sites participating in the COVID-19 convalescent plasma expanded access program

"I've had a great time as a SUMR scholar. It's been a very enriching experience intellectually, and it has provided a lot of opportunities to learn both through practice from our own research projects, as well as hearing other people's career paths and applying these lessons to our own planned career trajectory."

Miguel Sanchez-Iriqui (MEHP Mentor: Norma B. Coe)

Project: Effects of informal versus formal care in Alzheimer's and Related Dementia patients

"The SUMR program solidified my interest in health care economics, with an emphasis on health care financing."

Noelle “Kristen” Smith (MEHP Mentors: Ari Friedman and Matthew McCoy)

Project: Digital privacy across hospital websites

"I think this project is especially interesting because digital privacy in this day and age truly impacts everyone. Researching this topic so far has both made me incredibly aware of the prevalence of poor privacy measures as they relate to one's health information generated through website use as well as encouraged me to consider solutions that get to the root of the problem."

Jasmine Warren (MEHP Mentors: Kevin Volpp and Rinad Beidas)

Projects: Bold Solutions Regional Health Equity Initiative and IMPaCT and CFAR

"This [regional health equity initiative] project taught me that health disparities are abundant in so many different ways. As a result, I can't fix all of them. However, there are so many ways to make an impact, which is the most important thing. My experience with the ARCH Lab taught me that research can be conducted in so many different ways, which facilitates both curiosity and creativity in academia."

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