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Eligibility Requirements:

To be eligible students must:

  • Be a freshman or sophomore college student OR a community college student at the time of application
  • Have a minimum overall 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
  • Not have previously participated in the program

Other factors that will be considered in the application process: 

  • Identification 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

How to Apply:

  • Visit
  • Choose the University of Alabama at Birmingham as one of the sites when prompted
All applications go through the national website and are then funneled to individual sites. If you have questions about the application, contact the SHPEP National site directly. If you have questions about the SHPEP program at UAB, contact Dawn Fizer at 205-996-2978 or via email at


The Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It is a free 6-week summer enrichment residential programs for first and second year college students, developed from a partnership between the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine, School of Dentistry, School of Optometry, and School of Health Professions, home to the Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy programs. 

The goal of the program is to increase diversity in health professions by recruiting and preparing underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students for successful educational experiences and careers in health care. 

Scholars will be offered educational opportunities in the following areas:

1) Instruction on health science topics, scientific writing and critical reasoning
2) Lectures on health disparities and determinants of health outside of clinical settings
3) Clinical exposure and shadowing
4) Community-based experiences, including primary health care in underserved populations
5) Career development activities with one-on-one sessions and mock interviews
6) Simulated patient care experiences in numerous fields
7) Workshops on study skills, life skills, time management skills, and financial literacy
8) Leadership development exercises and team-building skills

Students will also engage with the rich history of Birmingham to highlight the importance of diversity and inclusion.
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Additional Information

  • SHPEP does not provide academic credit 
  • Program stipends of $600 per student will be distributed in 2 installments, one at the completion of week 3, and one at the completion of week 6.SHEP students
  • Travel assistance is provided for participants via a round-trip coach airfare of up to $500, or mileage reimbursement for those who travel by car from a distance of 60 miles or greater. Travel will be reimbursed at the conclusion of the program.
  • All participants will be housed at the UAB dormitories
  • Social and extracurricular activities are planned on the weekends
  • Meal plan allowances of $127 per week (for breakfast, lunch and dinner) will br provided to participants via a University ID card for the Commons on the Green cafeteria and participating campus restaurants
  • Lunch will be provided twice a week at lunch lectures

Health Insurance

SHPEP studentThe UAB Student and Health Wellness (SHW) Center provides medical and counseling services to all UAB undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of insurance coverage. Student Health Services include primary care, acute and chronic care, women’s health, basic mental health evaluation and treatment, immunizations and treatment of minor emergencies. Additional services include diagnostic lab testing, x-ray services and after hours consultation which is available 24/7. RWJ Scholars will have equitable access to care. For scholars who do not have major medical coverage, VIVA Health offers the option to purchase short term coverage. Contact UAB Student Health and Wellness for more information. Click here to access their website.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact the SHPEP team at UAB:

University of Alabama at Birmingham
Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
UAB School of Medicine
109 Volker Hall
1670 University Boulevard
Birmingham, AL 35294

Information for Students Confirmed at UAB-SHPEP

A video conference will be scheduled within the next few weeks to explain required documentation needed, what records are needed, travel requirements, and what to expect when you come to UAB for SHPEP in 2019.


All tattoos should be covered during all professional lectures/meetings/activities and events. 

Casual attire:

a) Should you raise your hands or touch your toes and bare skin shows, you'll need to change your clothes. 
b) Casual attire will be strictly enforced.
c) You may not wear mid-riff tops, muscle shirts with gaping armholes, super short shorts, offensive images or words on t-shirts or garments, or sunglasses indoors.
d) You may wear blue jeans, shorts of a tasteful length, sleeveless tops, hats outside only, dresses, skirts, jackets, sweaters - except during Dental School Week (for Dental School Week attire see below). 
e) Pack rain gear.
f) Don't forget your sunscreen!
g) It will be very HOT outside; stay hydrated.
h) Classrooms will be chilly; bring a lightweight jacket/sweater for indoor classes.


Business casual ONLY. For the 5 days you will be at the Dental School for Dental Week you may not wear any of the items listed above under "Casual Attire." You may only wear attire suggestions from this link


Professional/business outfits ONLY - suit or suit jacket with dress shirt, necktie or bowtie; professional length skirt, blazer or jacket and professional styled blouse, professional shoes. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Where do I go Sunday, June 2?

A. If you are flying in, please take taxi, Uber or Lyft to your dorm, Rast Hall

Q. Where do I park when I arrive Sunday, June 2, 2019?

A. Here
1602 9th Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35294-4550

Q. Where do I go Monday, June 3?

A. You will meet in the lobby of Rast Hall at 8:00 am. Your professional Student Mentors will await your arrival and walk with you to Volker Hall, 1670 University Blvd, where you will attend New SHPEP Student Orientation.

Q. Will I have an opportunity to take a photo for my I.D. card once I arrive?

A. Yes, it will be part of your orientation day station rotations.

Q. Where can I ship packages?

A. You may ship/mail necessary important pakages to our office: UAB Office for Diversity and Inclusion.
Volker Hall Suite 109
1670 University Blvd
Birmingham, AL 35233

Q. What should I wear when I am shadowing? May I wear athletic wear?

A. If you own a pair of scrubs, please bring them. If not, they may be provided; otherwise, business casual will be expected. You may NOT wear athletic wear.

Q. Do I need to bring a book bag or school supplies?

A. There is no need to bring school supplies. A cinch bag, pen and journal will be provided; you may bring your regular backpack should you feel you may want to carry more than what will fit in the provided cinch bag. 

Q. May I wear running shorts to class?

A. No. Casual khaki or printed cute shorts are acceptable; respectable length is required. 

Q. If I am driving to SHPEP, how will my reimbursement for travel miles work?

A. Once you have completed the SHPEP program, you will receive a travel document to sign. This will generate a payment request and a check will be mailed to your permanent mailing address.

Q. Will airline baggage be reimbursed?

A. No. You are responsible for paying for your baggage. Ground transportation is also at your expense.

Q. Should I bring a laptop, and what if I don't have one?

A. Please bring your laptops to class EVERY morning. If you do not have one, one will be provided for your use.

Q. Can we go on outings on the weekends? Is the no athletic wear dress code in effect over the weekend?

A. You are free to go on weekend outings as long as you are not scheduled for shadowing. You may wear athletic clothes or any other respectable clothes. You are reflection of this program for the 6 weeks you're in Birmingham. 

Q. Are there Saturday requirements?

A. There are a few required events on a few Saturdays; they are to be determined and will be on your printed scheduled.

Q. How will I receive my stipend?

A. Direct deposit: Each student will need to set up direct deposit information. This cannot be done until after the first day of the program. You will need to bring your bank routing information in order to set up direct deposit. You may also speak with your professional student mentor privately to discuss your need for assistance with setting up your direct deposit and/or health insurance. 

Q. Do I need to have health insurance to participate in SHPEP?

A. Yes. However, if you do not have health insurance, please inform Ms. Dawn Fizer via email at As part of orientation day rotation, you may also speak with your professional student mentor privately to discuss your need for assistance with setting up health insurance and/or your direct deposit. 

Q. When is checkout?

A. Checkout is Friday, July 12, if you are driving and feel comfortable driving after the conclusion of the closing ceremony. Otherwise you will check out the morning of July 13.