Community Event Requests

The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living is happy to participate in various school and community events whenever possible.  

At past events we have:

  • distributed healthy living tips and information,
  • led games and activities to promote healthy eating and physical activity, and 
  • provided public talks or presentations on our various projects and research activities.  

To request Center participation at your event, please fill out the Community Event Request Form, and representatives from the Center will be in touch with you soon.

Internship Opportunities at the Center for Healthy Living

Throughout the year, the Center provides various opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to intern (unpaid) with our ongoing projects and initiatives. Past volunteers have assisted with:

  • data collection (surveys, height/weight measurement, focus groups or interviews) and analysis (quantitative, qualitative, GIS) for our research projects,
  • program implementation (curriculum development and trainings) for our research projects, and
  • preparations for Center events (Lectureship in Child Health, Texas Health Champion Award Ceremony).

We can accept a limited number of unpaid interns each semester based on the number of projects that have opportunities available.  Current opportunities are listed below. To apply for an internship, complete the Center Intern Application and send with your resume to the contact listed below. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until available opportunities are filled.

Please note, non-UTHealth School of Public Health or UT Austin students must complete additional paperwork and a background check prior to working, and this could take up to 2 months to complete.

Current Opportunities

Project: Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Technical Assistance and Support Partnership

Description: The Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Technical Assistance and Support Partnership (TMFW-TASP) is a program of the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and is administered by the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living (MSD Center) at the UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin. TASP was established in 2015 to assist employers with developing worksite lactation support policies and programs, and be recognized for their efforts through the Mother-Friendly Worksite designation. The Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite designation demonstrates a proactive and basic level of support for nursing mothers in the workplace. Worksites that go beyond basic criteria can be awarded Silver- or Gold-level designations. In addition to providing technical assistance and support to those worksites across Texas seeking designation, TMFW-TASP provides direct outreach, conducts evaluations to inform public health practice, and holds promotional events to reach new worksites across employment sectors and geographic regions statewide.

Internship Project 1: Health Promotion and Health Communication. Develop a health communication campaign for child care centers, and develop outreach materials for the campaign. Student will be immersed in outreach activities of TMFW-TASP, learning program management skills.

Internship Project 2: Conduct literature review and data analysis of publicly available workforce data to inform TMFW-TASP outreach directives and develop an informative webinar for TMFW-TASP to use for outreach.

Time Period:  Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020

Location: Austin

Principal Investigator: Dr. Courtney Byrd-Williams

Contact:  Emily Herrington (Project Director) at


Project: Food Retail: Evaluating Strategies for a Healthy Austin (FRESH Austin)

Description:  The purpose of the FRESH Austin project is to evaluate the City of Austin’s Fresh for Less initiative. The goal is to understand how inter-related and inter-dependent food access interventions can lead to sustainable solutions that promote health and increase economic opportunities. 400 participants will be recruited into the study and followed for three years. Participants will complete an annual survey on food purchasing, consumption, and associated behaviors, as well as answer questions on food security and transportation. Accelerometer and GPS data will be collected from a subsample to assess travel behaviors to determine interactions with new food access points. Environmental audits will also be conducted around the new food access points. This position would help prepare materials for data collection, assist with data collection, assist with environmental audits, help with data processing, literature reviews, and presentations.

Time Period:  Spring 2021

Location: Austin

Principal Investigator: Dr. Alexandra van den Berg

Contact:  Aida Nielsen (Project Director) at 


Project: 2019-2020 School Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) Project


The SPAN Project is a surveillance system that monitors the nutrition, physical activity, and body size of school children in Texas via self-reported student and parent surveys, and body mass index (BMI).  Students in 2nd, 4th, 8th, and 11 grades are asked to participate in the project. Data collected during the SPAN Project is used to report regional and state-wide findings as well as to advise and improve child health programs and policy. Data will be collected during the 2019 – 2020 academic school year across Texas.  This is a unique opportunity to gain experience in large scale population-based research.

SPAN is funded by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and conducted by research staff at UTHealth, University of Texas School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus.

Time Period:  Spring 2021

Location: Austin, Amarillo, Brownsville, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Laredo, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, San Antonio, Tyler, anywhere in Texas that has participating schools! NOTE: Those residing in cities outside of Austin may be limited to Fall 2019, Spring 2020, or Summer 2020 internship.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Deanna Hoelscher

Contact:  Carolyn Smith (Project Coordinator) at 

Notable Facts: 

  • SPAN is the official state-wide obesity surveillance for Texas
  • Texas is the only state in the US that collects this objective and comprehensive child health information
  • This repeated cross-sectional study has been conducted since 2000
  • 2019 – 2020 will be the 5th installment of SPAN
  • Data collected is generalizable for Texas, by Health Service Region, and Border / non-Border
  • Over 80,000 students, parents, and school administrators have participated thus far

Measurements Conducted in SPAN:

  • Survey with 4th, 8th, 11th grade students and parents of 2nd graders
  • Student height and body composition
  • Vending machine audit
  • School health policy survey
  • Healthy signage observation

Learning Objectives:

  • Obtain human subject certification (CITI)
  • Certification in survey administration, anthropometry (height and weight measurements)
  • Assist with recruitment (relationship building with districts, schools, and project partners)
  • How to conduct accurate and robust research
  • Data preparation, collection, and quality control
  • Data cleaning and analysis
  • Assemble reports and presentations
  • Spanish speaking skills are helpful but not mandatory



Project: Systematic review and analysis for the age of initiation of tobacco products from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study


This internship focused in conducting literature reviews of the associated factors with the age of initiation of tobacco products (cigarettes, e-cigarettes, hookah, cigarillos, traditional cigars, filtered cigars, smokeless tobacco) from the PATH study.   

Learning Objectives:

  • Assist in creating evidence-based overviews (status report)
  • Evidence-based approaches
  • Component of abstract summarizing one of the systematic reviews
  • Creation of summary statistics from the national data PATH study

Time Period:  Fall 2020

Location: Austin, TX

Principal Investigator: Dr. Adriana Pérez



Additional questions about internship opportunities should be directed to Kathleen Manuel at