The IMPACT program provides opportunities for students to become involved in health disparities research while exploring academic and career opportunities that would not have been possible without the support provided through the IMPACT program.

IMPACT is funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) and is offered through the San Diego State University Research Foundation and the Institute for Behavioral and Community Health (IBACH).


The goals of IMPACT are to:

  1. Provide research training in health disparities to undergraduate and graduate students who are ‘underrepresented in research’ (as defined by the NIH).
  2. Provide opportunities for community involvement in efforts that are designed to reduce health disparities among racially/ethnically diverse communities.
  3. Provide support and guidance for students to advance academically and professionally.



  • Community involvement & unpaid internships
  • Hands-on public health research experience (course credit for many disciplines)
  • Training & Mentoring Program (paid internship)
  • Paid opportunities in community health disparities research involving a combination of educational presentations and training,  special projects, and faculty mentoring.



Advances in research have provided increased opportunities to improve the health of Americans. Despite this, there is a disproportionate burden of health risk and disease among underserved populations. One strategy of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to address this issue is to create a culturally competent workforce by expanding opportunities for research training and academic and career development for students underrepresented in research.

In spite of the growing numbers of Latinos in the US population, this same rate of growth is not occurring in academia, especially in higher academic and faculty ranks where significant development of research occurs. At the college level, underrepresented1 students tend to face challenges related to discrimination, financial barriers, and being first-generation college-bound. There is a high propensity for underrepresented students to pursue post-secondary studies, but many of these students take longer to graduate or do not complete all requirements to receive a degree. This represents a need for additional programs, like the IMPACT Program, that provide underrepresented1 students with academic and social support to successfully earn a college degree within a more efficient time frame.

1 – Underrepresented in Research (NIMHD Definition) Racial/Ethnic Groups: African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Alaskan Native, Hawaiian Native, U.S. Pacific Island Native; Disability; or Disadvantaged Background.

Project Managers:
Alma Behar

Principal Investigator:
John P. Elder, PhD, MPH

Contact Us
9245 Sky Park Ct. Suite 224
San Diego, California 92123
T: (619) 594-6152