News Global Health Center Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging

2020 Summer Research Program Summary

Written by Kim Furlow, communications manager for the Institute for Public Health


The Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program has wrapped up its 2020 program differently this year. Between June and late July, due to COVID-19 on-campus restrictions, summer program cohorts in the Public and Global Health Abbreviated Track and in the Aging and Neurological Diseases Track attended virtual programs. After being accepted via online application, 10 students attended each track, and spent time in online learning sessions and seminars involving a diverse group of WashU faculty and national speakers.

Although the research did not take the original route planned pre-COVID, I am grateful for the smooth and well-organized experience I had. – Nahom Zewde, Participant, Aging and Neurological Disease Track

Students in the Public and Global Health Abbreviated Track studied about and heard presentations on topics such as working in local and global communities; research communication; climate health; COVID-19 research; and, planning for careers in public and global health. The program concluded with a keynote by Audrey Odom John, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia speaking on pediatric infections. Students also presented an overview of the work they accomplished during the summer. Read the 2020 Program.

My time spent in the Summer Public Health Program has expanded my awareness of the health disparities throughout St. Louis and abroad. Learning more about the health disparities within my own city has further motivated me to pursue public health service within St. Louis. – Lauren Jennings, Participant, Public and Global Health Abbreviated Track. 

Students in the program’s Aging and Neurological Diseases Track learned about COVID-19 and its effect on older adults; ageism during the pandemic; research ethics; Alzheimer’s Disease; strokes; geriatric medicine and telehealth. Their program concluded with virtual poster presentations by alumni and a program evaluation.

Thanks to the Summer Research Program, I now have a clear understanding of how significant the pursuit of research can be. I hope to be able to translate what I have learned to my current work as an in-home caregiver for older adults in St. Louis and continue pursing purpose-driven, ethical research in the future. – Lindsey Debosik, Participant, Aging and Neurological Diseases Track

Students also blogged about their summer experience and virtual seminars that they attended. Read blog posts.

Scroll down here to read about past Summer Research Programs.

The application period for the 2021 Summer Research Program will begin in October, 2020

What I found most valuable was really learning about so many different sides of public health and how there is such a wide array of public health issues to be addressed. Hearing about so many different areas of research has allowed me to reflect and think about what issues I want to address as I move forward in my career. I really enjoyed hearing about research that is outside of my area of study and being exposed to so many different issues that people are working to address.  – Samantha Grounds, Participant, Public and Global Health Abbreviated Track.