Arsenic in drinking water: colorless, odorless, tasteless, and responsible for one in five deaths in Bangladesh today! Chemicals in plastics can mimic sex hormones. Early-life exposure to farm animals prevents childhood asthma. Environmental health scientists at the University of Arizona work at the cutting edge of understanding the relationships between environmental exposures, altered biological processes, and human disease. Now you have the opportunity to work with them in researching environmental health problems, through the EHS-TRUE program.

The UA Environmental Health Sciences Transformative Research Undergraduate Experience (EHS-TRUE) program is a prestigious, National Institutes of Health-funded undergraduate research training program for students from backgrounds underrepresented in the sciences, which provides pay for participants to conduct environmental health science research with some of the leading experts in this exciting area. The program offers each participant two years of paid year-round (15 hours/week during classes and 35 hours/week in summer) training and research experience in EHS-TRUE faculty mentors’ research groups to help develop an understanding of environmental health sciences, to apply classroom learning to research in environmental health, and to aid in deciding on a career path. Students take an introduction to environmental health sciences course and an introduction to biomedical research careers course during their two years in the program and participate in activities (workshops, retreats, scientific conferences) to expand their research experience. The goal of EHS-TRUE is to prepare undergraduates from underrepresented backgrounds to enter graduate programs in the environmental health sciences.

Because EHS-TRUE is offered under the UBRP umbrella, please be sure to read about UBRP on other parts of this site so that you understand the organization, expectations, and benefits of participation.

Participants in the EHS-TRUE Program will be involved in research for 12 weeks full time in the summer and part time during the academic year. This level of participation in research should allow participants to develop a scientific project to a level that can be presented at a scientific conference, and in many cases published with the student as a co-author.

Summer 2023 Mentors & Projects

The following mentors are examples of those available to serve as research mentors for EHS-TRUE students in Summer 2023:


EHS-TRUE is a prestigious opportunity for the highest caliber undergraduates, from backgrounds under-represented in the sciences, to work with leading experts in environmental health sciences in developing research projects to serve as the focus of a two-year training program in environmental heath science research. Eligible students can be from any major but must be undergraduates who are rising sophomores or rising juniors, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and be American Citizens or Permanent Residents of the United States. Accelerated Master’s Program (AMP) undergraduates are eligible for EHS-TRUE  prior to completing a Bachelor’s degree.  Upon completion of the Bachelor’s degree and conversion to graduate standing, AMP students are no longer eligible for this program.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognizes a unique and compelling need to promote diversity in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences workforce. The NIH expects efforts to diversify the workforce to lead to the recruitment of the most talented researchers from all groups; to improve the quality of the educational and training environment; to balance and broaden the perspective in setting research priorities; to improve the ability to recruit subjects from diverse backgrounds into clinical research protocols; and to improve the Nation’s capacity to address and eliminate health disparities. Accordingly, the NIH continues to encourage institutions to diversify their student and faculty populations and to increase the participation of individuals currently underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences such as:

  • individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups,

  • individuals with disabilities, and

  • individuals from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds that have inhibited their ability to pursue a career in health-related research.

The NIH is particularly interested in encouraging the recruitment and retention of the following classes of candidates:

  • Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see data at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/showpub.cfm?TopID=2&SubID=27 and the most recent report on Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering). The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.

  • Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

  • Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who are defined as:

    1. Individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds. These thresholds are based on family size; published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index; and adjusted by the Secretary for use in all health professions programs. The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels at HHS – Poverty Guidelines, Research, and Measurement. For individuals from low income backgrounds, the institution must be able to demonstrate that such participants have qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance or they have received any of the following student loans: Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL), Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program, or they have received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need.

    2. Individuals who come from a social, cultural, or educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that have demonstrably and recently directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.

Application Process

You will be asked to write a personal statement as a part of the application. Please be sure to include the reasons you want to participate in the EHS-TRUE Program. A good resource for general information regarding environmental health science is the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, www.niehs.nih.gov.

Download an EHS-TRUE Application Worksheet and follow the directions to submit your final application online via Qualtrics. The extended deadline to submit an application is 8:00am on Monday, March 20, 2023. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

A letter of recommendation is only required if you have prior independent research experience. The letter of recommendation must be from a member of the research group, preferably the primary scientist. Please direct your recommender to e-mail the letter to Jennifer Cubeta, UBRP Director, at cubeta@arizona.edu. Letters must be received by 8:00am Arizona Time on March 20, 2023, to be considered.

EHS-TRUE applicants will be screened, and finalists will be interviewed during March. Those selected for the program will be notified by April 1 and will have the month of April to interview with prospective EHS-TRUE mentors. Mentor/mentee pairings will be finalized by April 30 and the mentor will complete a commitment form indicating who the student’s immediate supervisor and time approver are. Applicants selected to participate must attend a full-day UBRP summer orientation on May 15, 2023, and the UBRP Ethics Retreat (June 8 & 9, 2023).

If you have questions, please contact Jennifer Cubeta, UBRP Director, at cubeta@arizona.edu.