Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP)

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Important Note:

Due to COVID-19, physical distance guidelines, and various travel/resource restrictions, the University of Louisville Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) will again be a 100% virtual experience. We are confident that we will be able to provide a valuable and transformative experience to the 2021 SHPEP scholars. We are so excited to continue our work and commitment to supporting the next generation of future health professionals.

What is the Summer Health Professions Education Program?

The Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) is a free summer enrichment program for first and second year college students interested in exploring a career in the health professions. SHPEP’s goal is to strengthen the academic proficiency and career development of students underrepresented in the health professions and prepare them for a successful application and matriculation to health professions schools.

SHPEP at the University of Louisville

The summer of 2021 will mark the 16th year of the SHPEP program at the University of Louisville. SHPEP at UofL introduces prospective medical, dental, nursing, and pharmacy scholars to the academic rigors of health professions education. Scholars will use team-based learning to integrate and apply the basic and social sciences centered on two major themes: Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease. Scholars will also work in inter-professional collaborative teams to develop and implement treatment plans with dental/medical/nursing/pharmacy applications.

Program Dates

SHPEP at U of L will convene on Monday, May 31 – Friday, July 9, 2021. It is important to note, that scholars must be available to attend the full six weeks of the program. The majority of the program will take place during the day; however they will be some evening and weekend program activities.

U of L SHPEP Program provides scholars a variety of academic, professional experiences such as:

  • Introduction to Biomedical Sciences course (this is a two credit hour course through the UofL’s Department of Physiology. This course will introduce students to organic chemistry, biochemistry, and physiology.
  • Guided hands on activities with mailed activity kits.
  • Academic and Career advising
  • Exposure to health policy and equity
  • Virtual Simulation labs
  • Team Based Learning modules and application
  • Access to the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, and Public Health, and Sullivan University College of Pharmacy.
  • Virtual Career Fair
  • Personal development workshops
  • Virtual meetings with practicing clinicians
  • And More!!!


Applications to the SHPEP program open on November 1st and close on February 5th. Please use the following link to access the online application system:

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  • Must be a high school graduate and currently enrolled as a freshman or sophomore in college.
  • Have a minimum overall college GPA of 2.5.
  • Be a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident, or an individual granted deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) status by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • Must not have previously participated in the program.

Other factors for consideration include:                           

  • Identifies with a group that is racially/ethnically underrepresented in the health professions;
  • Comes from an economically or educationally disadvantaged background; and/or
  • Has demonstrated an interest in issues affecting underserved populations.
  • Submits a compelling personal statement and a strong letter of recommendation.


Program Contacts:

Kiana Fields, Coordinator

Shonna Wagner, Program Coordinator

Please email for any questions.


SHPEP Student Development Assistant (SDA) Position

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Student Development Assistant Information – Summer of 2021 

The 2021 Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) will be a six-week program that supports 80 pre-health scholars interested in dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, and medicine. The primary goal of SHPEP is to strengthen the academic proficiency and career development of students underrepresented in the health professions, and prepare them for a successful application and matriculation to health professions schools. The Student Development Assistants (SDAs) will play a vital role in helping to obtain the aforementioned goals, and the overall success and support of the program and participants.

SDAs must be willing to serve as a role model, mentor, and advisor to student participants. This position for this online year requires you to be available May 24 – July 9, 2021.  The program itself will take place May 31st  – July 9th from noon-4pm each day, and we’d need SDAs to be available and participating each of those days from approximately 11am-5pm. SDAs will be financially compensated for their work in the role. Below you will find the application link and the detailed list of duties. It is important to note that we will be conducting interviews for the positions in late February/early March. Applications will close on February 15th.

Application Link:

Please see below for a detailed list of duties for SDAs.

Supervision and Communication

  • Serve as the first point of contact for participants, especially those assigned to your small group and those interested in your field.
  • Track scholar participation during live online sessions, completion of asynchronous sessions, and small group work.
  • Assist scholars with course content, technical challenges, and responding to scholar requests.


  • Support and foster relationships between scholars within the cohort and the SDA team.
  • Help supervise, tutor, and mentor a group of ten scholars through the cluster system.
  • Be willing to talk about your journey to your health professional school.
  • Participate in all programmatic components
  • Serve as tutors. Participants will have time set aside for small group discussions and activities and study questions; your job is to make sure that they understand the information.  (This is why it is critical for you to participate in all program components.)


  • Plan social activities for participants, and lead two small group activities per week.
  • Have icebreakers or activities ready when presenters cancel or running late
  • Suggest and assist with optional programming initiatives (i.e. mock interviews, volunteer opportunities, study session etc).

Other Duties as Assigned

  • Monitor participants and their overall well-being and communicate with the SHPEP Leadership team if there are issues that arise.
  • Help support scholars in their engagement in the program.
  • Assist with orientation activities, and course content
  • Help support scholars in their engagement in the program.

Required Experience to Apply

  • Must be entering or attending a health professional school (i.e. dentistry, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy) and/or taking a gap with the intention of attending health professional school.
  • Able to support the program for the full 6 weeks (1 week of prep, 4 weeks of the actual program and 1 week of wrap up activities)
  • Enthusiastic about mentoring and supporting scholars and the SHPEP Program

Preferred Experience

(You will still be considered if you do not have these requirements)

  • Entering or finishing first year of health professional school
  • Participant of a summer pipeline program (i.e. SHPEP/SMDEP, MCAT-DAT, PEPP, Gear Up, etc.)
  • Identify as underrepresented in health professional field (i.e race/ethnicity, economic/educationally disadvantaged background, and/or an interest in issues affecting underserved populations.
  • Comfortable with utilizing online platforms and helping scholars address technical hurdles.