Health Disparities Field Experience

We want students to learn about working with people who do not have equal access to healthcare. Each year, graduate students from the University of Washington and New Mexico State University will have a chance to learn about health disparities in underserved communities in the Southwest. Students will work with the program staff, community health educators, and staff in communities and clinics to learn about difficulties that those impacted by health disparities are facing.

Selected Fred Hutch/UW and NMSU graduate students will have the unique opportunity to spend two weeks to observe and participate in clinics and services responsible for the care of underserved populations, particularly Native American/American Indian and Hispanic populations. Students travel to sites in New Mexico, Texas and Arizona, to visit various rural clinics, meet with community health workers, and participate in ongoing health promotion/education projects, including one or more projects funded by the U54 grant.

The HDFE will utilize established NMSU community alliances to provide students with formative experiences and to develop skills to critically analyze health disparities and health education interventions. Additionally, direct research experience with the priority populations is at the cornerstone of the program. HDFE participants will spend time with program staff, Outreach Core health educators, and staff at community and clinical sites around New Mexico in order to fully observe the unique issues related to the existence of health inequalities and disparities. Activities will include shadowing personnel at their worksites and while they interact with community, visiting health clinics and community centers, attending health trainings at the New Mexico Department of Health, and spending time with community members. Community health educators (CHEs) will work with the student participants to familiarize them with the barriers and facilitators of working with underserved populations.

Additional information can be found on the PACR website at Fred Hutch.  



The HDFE will be a two-week experience from June 15th - June 26th.

June 15th - June 18th
    • In the first week, students will travel to areas along the U.S. - Mexico border region in New Mexico and Texas., including Chapparal, Vado, and Anthony.
June 21st - June 26th
      • In the second week, students will travel to areas in the Four Corners location of New Mexico and Arizona, including Grants, Farmington, and Window Rock.

    • The locations traveled to during the course of the experience can be seen in the map to the right.

This really inspired me to just go out there and do things that are out of my comfort zone. You meet people along the way who are in it with you and who think the same as you and share your passions. It's been an irreplaceable experience.

Field Experience Participant

As part of the HDFE, students will meet with local community health workers/promotoras de salud (CHWs/PdS). Working with CHWs/PdS, the HDFE participants will be expected to:

  1. Gain skills and experience in intervening with population groups that experience health disparities;
  2. Understand how to develop and use culturally appropriate materials and intervention channels for the prevention of cancer and other public health concerns; and
  3. Gain familiarity with the CHW/PdS approach to health promotion.

To achieve these objectives, HDFE students will participate in all or some of the following activities:

  • Shadow and assist CHWs/PdS during their rounds throughout the region as they work with community members on various health outcomes
  • Assist with interviews with community members and data collection;
  • Spend time learning how CHWs/PdS practice a "patient navigator" approach and be able to describe the approach with other HDFE participants through presentations



Stay tuned to see when the next application for the HDFE is live!