The LGBT Health & Development Program


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Intern with the IMPACT Program

Program Description:  The mission of the IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program at Northwestern University is to conduct translational research that improves the health of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and to increase understanding of the development of sexual orientation and gender identity.  Directed by Dr. Brian Mustanski, IMPACT has multiple NIH- and foundation-funded studies and actively collaborates with community-based organizations to conduct research and translate findings into interventions.  Extensive community ties have been a hallmark of the IMPACT Program since its inception, and it is now a resident partner with the Center on Halsted.

We typically recruit new interns and volunteers three times each year:

  • Summer: Applications accepted from May 1-15. (Internships begin approximately in June.)
  • Fall: Applications accepted from September 1-15. (Internships begin approximately in October.)
  • Spring: Applications  accepted from January 1-15. (Internships begin approximately in February.)

Interns who can commit to approximately 10 hours a week over six months are preferred. Internships are unpaid but may be completed for school credit.

Application Instructions:  To apply, please download, complete, and return the application, along with your resume or CV, to Dr. Michelle Birkett ( Applicants must be legally eligible to work in the USA.

Download the Internship Application


Internship Description: As a translational research program, The IMPACT Program maintains a strong online presence through its comprehensive website ( and social media outlets, such as Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube, and Tumblr.  The IMPACT website, which receives over 125,000 visits each year, contains weekly youth and research blogs, interactive LGBT youth quizzes and videos, research project descriptions, and a publication library of research findings. Online channels are critical for reaching LGBT youth and families, professionals who serve them, researchers, and policy makers with the latest research findings and information related to LGBT health and development.

With supervision by the Program Manager, the intern will work on program-wide initiatives for communicating findings and health messaging related to IMPACT research on the web and social media. Duties may include writing online research briefs and blogs for both scientific and youth audiences, creating health communications projects to promote IMPACT research online, maintaining and enhancing online repositories of research findings, assisting with social media, and using WordPress as a tool for website management.

Qualifications:  Required:  Strong, versatile writer with the ability to tailor writing to various audiences and outlets; Basic understanding of how to read and interpret research literature; Experience or interest in working on LGBT issues; Detail-oriented; Ability to work independently, follow through with tasks, and meet deadlines. Preferred:  Experience with WordPress; social media. Video editing or Adobe design software skills are a plus.


Internship Description:  Guy2Guy (G2G) is a text messaging-based HIV prevention program for adolescent men who have sex with men (MSM), ages 14-18.  This study will recruit approximately 336 young men from around the country into the randomized-controlled trial via online recruitment and will follow them for 4.5 months.  During this time, they will receive 6 weeks of text messages and be asked to complete three surveys.

The intern in this position will assist in a variety of monitoring and retention activities – maintaining spreadsheets to track participant interaction with study components, contacting participants who have not completed surveys, and other duties to help the study keep a high rate of follow-up.  Other tasks may include conducting literature reviews and other research tasks related to dissemination from the project.

Qualifications: Preferred: Ability to review and summarize published literature on LGBT and HIV issues; experience with conducting quantitative analyses.  Required: Experience or interest in working on LGBT issues; strong interpersonal skills; strong organizational skills; basic computer skills


Internship Description:  In collaboration with a team of developers at the Oxford Internet Institute, IMPACT is involved in two projects: 1) we are developing a touchscreen social network interview for adolescents which is being deployed within a study of 1200 young men who have sex with men (YMSM) this fall; and 2) we have collected and are analyzing the topology and attributes of adolescent online social networks and how these networks relate to individual health behaviors and risk.

An intern working on one of these projects will assist in 1) front and backend development; beta-testing; maintenance of documentation; and/or 2) dissemination activities including conducting literature reviews, data analysis, co-authoring manuscripts.

Qualifications: Preferred: Programming experience in some of the following: C, C++, JAVA, No SQL and Graph Databases (in particular, NEO4j), experience conducting quantitative analysis. Required: strong interest in the intersection of big data, networks, and health; enthusiasm for interdisciplinary collaboration with social scientists; strong organizational skills; strong computer skills.

VIDEO INTERN (applications accepted on a rolling basis)

Internship Description:  The IMPACT Program uses video as a tool for disseminating information on topics related to our mission statement and research, such as identity, sexual health, and coming out. Videos are housed on the IMPACT website (, which receives over 10,000 visits a month, as well as YouTube and Vimeo. With supervision by faculty and management, the Video Intern will develop and create brief, engaging videos to help translate relevant topics into easily understood web content. The Video Intern will have opportunities to produce original projects and may also be asked to film short, scripted videos for online research interventions.
Qualifications:  Preferred:  Knowledge of lighting. Spanish language proficiency.  Required:  Proficiency at film shooting, editing, and using HDSLR cameras; Must have own film editing software; Ability to work independently, follow through with tasks, and meet deadlines; Excellent communications skills; Experience or interest in working on LGBT issues; Interest in working with community members and stakeholders.
IMPACT Diversity Statement: Northwestern University and IMPACT’s commitment to diversity is critical to our mission of advancing access to excellence in academic programs, world-class research, and health programs. Engagement in discrimination or harassment against any person because of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, military service, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression will not be tolerated.Through its work, the IMPACT Program advances the health and wellbeing of LGBT individuals.  Staff and trainees should expect to find a diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities among IMPACT staff, trainees, research participants, and in outreach experiences.  We highlight the importance of respecting and valuing this aspect of diversity among staff and trainees.

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