Graduate Student Research Award: Addressing Health Disparities

Award Description

There is one (1) award annually for $2,000 for graduate student research in health psychology for this category. Health disparities are defined as “differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden of diseases and other adverse health conditions that exist among specific population group” (National Institutes of Health). In particular, the award for health disparities research is intended to support research focusing on various health conditions that are more prevalent, serious, or specific to disadvantaged and medically underserved groups, or on healthcare inequities relevant to these groups, specifically, ethnic minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged individuals in rural and urban areas.

For a list of prior award winners, visit the SfHP Health Research Council’s awards page.


The award competition is open to full-time students enrolled in any degree conferring-graduate program in psychology. The program is not required to be a Health Psychology program. We encourage SfHP graduate student members from any psychology program (e.g., Community Psychology) who are proposing health psychology research to apply. To be eligible to receive the award, students must be current members of the Society for Health Psychology. Research awards are typically used to fund students’ thesis or dissertation research, but this is not a requirement of the support mechanism. Students may submit only one award per year.

For the purposes of this award, the term “research” is broadly defined as any scholarly endeavor, including but not limited to experiments, correlational studies, qualitative investigations and evaluation research.


Proposals will be reviewed on an annual basis and must be received by January 15, with notification of award made late March.


The faculty sponsor should be consulted during the formulation of the research proposal. The student should be the author of the proposal and the principal investigator of the research project.  Proposals should be formatted with 12-point font and 1″ margins must be used throughout. Excluding references but including tables and figures, proposals should not exceed 6 single-spaced pages. Any material beyond the 6 single-spaced pages will not be reviewed.

Research proposals must include the following information:

  1. Specific Aims (recommended length 1 page)
    • What are the research goals?
    • What are the specific hypotheses?
  2. Background (recommended length 2 pages)
    • Brief literature review of the area
    • What has past research shown?
    • What gaps in the existing literature does this research address?
  3. Methods (recommended length 3 pages)
    • Inclusion and exclusion criteria
    • Proposed sample
    • Measures/Instrumentation
    • Procedures
    • Data analytic plan
    • Anticipated limitations
  4. References (do not count towards page limits)
    • All references must be formatted according to the APA publication manual, 7th edition.

Application Instructions

For an application to be considered, all of the following steps must be completed.

  1. Complete and submit the following online form as part of the submission process:
    Note. The data from this online form only will be used for information purposes. Demographic information and which category of award is being applied for will not be shared with reviewers.
  2. Create a complete award packet (described below) and upload it to Dropbox by January 15th using the following link:
    Please combine your award packet into a single PDF format document for ease of distribution to reviewers.
    The file should be named as: Familyname_Givenname_year.pdf
    For example if Jordan Smith was submitting an application in 2019 the correct filename is: Smith_Jordan_2019.pdf.
  3. A complete award packet MUST include:
    • A cover letter that indicates you are a member of the Society for Health Psychology and how the research addresses a topic area within health psychology.
    • A proposal title/cover page, that includes the project title, your name, title, affiliation, and contact information (email address, postal address, and phone), and the faculty sponsor’s name, title, affiliation, and email address.
    • A detailed budget covering the entire proposed project.
      The award funds are meant to support the research being proposed and therefore may not be used for travel expenses to conferences. Specifically indicate how the funds from the Graduate Student Research Award will be used. Please describe other sources of funding for the proposed project, if any. Information on additional funding, if any, is helpful in evaluating not only the need for funding, but also the feasibility of carrying out the project with the available monies from this award. Projects that can feasibly be accomplished within the support from this award alone are welcome.
      Example budget:
Participant Payments

($20 x 50 participants)


(5 actigraphs, $200 each)


(SPSS student license)


(Printing copies of questionnaires)

TOTAL $2,350

The $2,000 from this award will be used for the participant payments and the purchase of the actigraphs. The applicant’s mentor will be purchasing SPSS for the student from within the mentor’s funding ($250). The applicant will be paying out of pocket for the copying of questionnaires ($100).

  • The proposal, as described above.
  • Biographical sketch for the student (follow the NIH biosketch guidelines for the pre-doctoral fellowship format).
  • A letter of recommendation from the faculty sponsor. The letter should verify that the proposed research is the student’s project and that the student will function as the principal investigator.
    *Note this is the only part of the award packet that may be submitted separately. If desired, faculty mentors may submit their recommendation letters directly by uploading their recommendation to: or emailing their letter of recommendation to

Please ensure that you have completed all these steps and that every part of the award packet is included. Applications that do not meet criteria will not be considered.

Review of Applications

Proposals go through scientific peer review by members of the SfHP Health Research Council and additional invited reviewers as required. All proposals are scored by at least two independent reviewers. These scores are used to rank applications.

The top four ranked applications are awarded under the Research in General Health Psychology Award category. From the remaining applications, the top ranked applications eligible for the Health Disparities Research Award and the Research Award to Promote Inclusion will be awarded.

All applicants will receive comments regarding their proposal and the outcome of the review process. 

Research Report

Each student receiving an award will be required to submit a report to the Health Research Council by September 1 of the year following the award. The report should be limited to 2 single-spaced pages and should include a description of the results and a plan for presenting or publishing the results. In addition, we would appreciate the opportunity to post any final presentations, abstracts, or papers on the SfHP web site.