Research Assistantships

Through our Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funding, the Center is able to provide tuition-bearing research assistantships to MCH graduate students. The number of research assistant (RA) positions varies depending on our budget and the type of activities we take on every year. See the below for common questions and answers about these positions.

When are positions announced?

RAships are typically announced mid- to late-summer for fall appointments. Announcements get sent to the MCH student email list.

How long is an RA appointment?

They are semester-long appointments, with the option for renewal in subsequent semester(s) based on the needs of the Center, availability of funding and satisfactory performance of duties.

Do you offer RAships during the summer? 

The work of the Center doesn’t stop at semester’s end, so we often do have a position available in the summer months. However, the Division of Epidemiology & Community Health’s policy does not allow for coverage of benefits over the summer appointment period. Summer appointments therefore usually come with the same hourly pay rate as the RAship minus tuition benefits.

What kind of pay and benefits do RAs get?

Hourly rates depend on the level of education completed. Center RAships are typically 25% time (~10 hours/week) or less. Details related to health and other benefits can be found on the Division intranet (see “RA/TA New Hire Letter” details and other RA/TA Hiring Forms).

What type of work do Center RAs do?

This varies depending on the type of research, technical assistance (TA) and continuing education (CE) being provided by Center staff and faculty at any given time. Center RAships provide students with many opportunities to write and communicate about topics related to MCH (e.g., family health, women’s health, reproductive health, child health, youth health) for diverse professional and graduate student audiences, as well as prospective MCH MPH students. 

RAs support the Center’s mission, undertaking tasks that involve writing and editing material for publication (monthly electronic newsletters, publications, fact sheets, briefs), contributing to the Center’s online presence and participating in other activities that promote the MCH Program. They also contribute to research and other projects being undertaken by Center faculty and staff. 

What are the qualifications needed?

The selection process is a competitive one and is based on skills, interests and student status. Our RAs are independent, self-motivated, creative thinkers with excellent verbal and written communication skills. Center RAs gain skills in interpreting the research literature through writing assignments, build their knowledge of MCH topics, become familiar with HRSA Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) programs and goals, practice translating research for professionals and policymakers and learn how university-based centers function.

Are there other ways to get involved in the Center’s work?

We get requests from state agency or community staff (who are sometimes MCH alumni) who have a specific project and request the time and expertise of an MCH graduate student. If there’s a good fit between the student and the agency or organization, we have paid the student to be “deployed” to that agency or organization.

This is not a full RAship; however, the student works closely with the agency staff member, who mentors and supervises them as they undertake a time-limited project. Students who participate write up a Student Spotlight about their experience.

Visit our deployment page for more info.

Where is the Center located?

While we’re housed at the West Bank Office Building, our work is done all across the university, community and country (both in-person and virtually). We understand that RAs are students first, so RAships come with a lot of flexibility and autonomy, and with that comes high responsibility and accountability.

Have other questions? 

Email Sara Benning at mch@umn.edu to ask about Center-funded research assistantships and other opportunities.