Purpose

The purpose of the University of Texas System Population Health Scholars Program is to develop the next cadre of population health professionals and to build capacity for population health work in Texas and beyond. In this unique professional development program, scholars are matched with mentors who provide hands-on training across a range of disciplines and methodologies that can be applied to address the health needs of populations. This program is a unique bridge that connects academia and practice, with a focus on using evidence-based practices to improve population health. The goal is to complement scholars’ academic training with practical experience in population health.

Population Health Scholar placements are available from the undergraduate through post-doctoral level. Most of our scholars are in paid positions, but there are also opportunities for unpaid internships, practicums, and keystone projects. Placements are available year-round, with evaluation on a semester-by-semester basis. Scholars will work closely with their mentor team to tailor the program curriculum and core competencies to their academic discipline, stage, and interests.

There are currently two open positions, in the research and data systems tracks, but we accept resumes for all tracks, and may contact students when placements become available. To be considered for future positions, send us a resume, and subscribe to our population health scholars mailing list for announcements of new openings.  

Program Curriculum

  • Contribute to the work being conducted within University of Texas System Population Health
  • Participate in monthly journal club, with opportunities to lead and present
  • Attend symposiums on practical aspects of population health, including data visualization, interpretation, presentation, and the policy landscape
  • Present work to a variety of audiences
  • Develop and co-author written and visual products
  • Obtain career development guidance

Core Competencies

  • Understand the broader context and current issues in population health relevant to the project
  • Understand the practical aspects of public health practice that affects population health
  • Understand the value of interdisciplinary research and how diverse teams can promote population health in non-traditional ways
  • Understand the basic framework of implementation science
  • Synthesize information across a broad range of sources in the context of the project
  • Interpret the research and the findings in the broader context and consider potential policy implications
  • Present research, data and information to audiences with a variety of backgrounds
  • Gain familiarity with the culture and responsibilities of a professional work environment

Tracks

The program is structured with several tracks to fit the career development goals of the individual student:

Research
Population Health Scholars in the research track receive career development mentoring and hands-on training through research projects that address relevant and timely population health issues. Scholars can be involved in a wide range of activities, from research conceptualization and design through data analysis and interpretation. Projects can culminate in presentations, manuscripts, and public reports. Over the course of the program, scholars will gain exposure to the basics of population health research and develop practical skills that can be applied to address the pressing health needs within and across populations.

Communications
The Population Health Scholars Program offers opportunities for scholars who are working toward careers in journalism, design, information science, and web development. These scholars will focus on the challenges of communicating population health information to diverse audiences. They will be responsible for creating products such as feature articles, print documents, digital newsletters, websites, posters, maps, and other visualizations that will be disseminated to the public. Scholars will attend regular editorial meetings and will have the opportunity to propose and develop products designed to expand their skills and professional portfolios. 

Data Systems
The Population Health Scholars Program offers opportunities for those in the Information or Computer Sciences fields. Scholars will focus on projects related to the broad use and distribution of data in Population Health. Projects will address the specific needs of University of Texas System Population Health researchers and communications professionals. Projects may range from the normalization and merging of multi-year health data, to scripts and coding supporting the needs of researchers, to development of web tools for communicating data and maps to the public.