Public health Leadership and Learning Undergraduate Student Success (PLLUSS) Program

The PLLUSS Program is a public health leadership and research program for undergraduate sophomore and junior scholars minoring or majoring in public health with at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4-point scale. The PLLUSS Program provides scholars with mentored public health research and community health activities, mentorship, and professional development, especially in the area of promotion of health equity and the elimination of health disparities research. PLLUSS scholars will participate in a comprehensive educational and applied public health learning experience that will enhance their abilities to successfully transition to graduate and professional school, and ultimately to a career in public health. 

The PLLUSS program is a collaboration of:

  1. Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI), Historically Black Colleges and Universities (including Morgan State University and Howard University), Johns Hopkins University undergraduate program in Public Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and School of Nursing in Baltimore, MD
  2. California State University – Los Angeles (CSU–LA, a diverse Hispanic-serving institution) in Los Angeles, CA
  3. University of Cincinnati and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (UC-NIOSH)

Scholars from federally-defined underrepresented populations are encouraged to apply.


  • The scholars will participate in the PLLUSS program full time for eight weeks during the summer program and 150 hours during the academic year.
  • Orientation begins on May 25 through May 29, 2015 for all students. Orientation will take place at KKI/Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, MD (May 25th – May 26th) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA (May 27 – May 29). Housing and transportation will be provided for scholars. PLEASE NOTE: Students enrolled in the CSU-LA PLLUSS Program will return home after Orientation.
  • PLLUSS Summer Research Experience
    • KKI-PLLUSS and UC-NIOSH PLLUSS scholars’ summer research will be June 1 to July 17, 2015.
    • PLEASE NOTE CSU-LA PLLUSS scholars’ summer research will be June 17 to July 31, 2015.

Current leadership and research mentorship sites include:

  1. Kennedy Krieger Institute (Lead Institution)
  2. California State University – Los Angeles
  3. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
    • Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions
  4. Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  5. Johns Hopkins School of Nursing
  6. Johns Hopkins University
  7. University of Cincinnati
  8. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Cincinnati, OH)

Summer Program Description:

Scholars will be paired with a research mentor based on the interests expressed in their application. Scholars will work with their mentor to develop a research question.  Available research topics include: health disparities, urban health issues, HIV/AIDS, adolescent health, developmental disabilities, community health, substance abuse treatment and prevention, cancer prevention, and child maltreatment and community violence prevention and treatment.

  1. Scholars will be mentored to complete an abstract and manuscript through participation in weekly manuscript writing seminars.  During weekly manuscript writing seminars scholars will develop skills in data abstraction, literature reviews, basic statistical skills using STATA software (e.g., descriptive statistics, regression analysis, etc.)
  2. Scholars will be taught to use an Epidemiologic Rubric to discuss a public health topic related to health disparities.
  3. Scholars will present their research and public health topic at the end of the summer.
  4. Scholars will be encouraged to submit their research for presentation at a national scientific conference.  Attendance at the national meeting will be sponsored by the PLLUSS program.
  5. Scholars will participate in educational seminars in public health research methods, health disparities research, impact of social determinants on health, and urban health issues.
  6. PLLUSS faculty will provide small group professional and public health skill development.

Academic Year Activities

  1. Online seminars and journal club
  2. Community public health presentations
  3. Presentation at a national scientific meeting
  4. Develop manuscript for journal submission.

The housing and round-trip travel expenses for out-of-state scholars are available. Student will be paid a $5,140 stipend.  All program activities are contingent upon CDC funding.

Application Guidelines

Scholars who are enrolled in undergraduate public health programs are encouraged to apply. Application will be available in November. 

Click here for application guidelines and application link for the PLLUSS program. Applications are due January 31, 2015.

Don’t wait! All application materials, including two letters of recommendation from faculty, must be uploaded by January 31, 2015, 11:59 pm (EST). Applications must be completed within one two-hour session. After two hours, the application system will time out and your information will NOT be saved!

For More Information

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