The Research Internship Program

Training the Next Generation of Health Professionals

The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® offers one of the most outstanding and unique research internship opportunities available to undergraduate premed students and those studying in other health care disciplines. Working with physician and research staff mentors, interns contribute to clinical research studies and publications that impact patient care. This past year, the work of former interns was part of 10 presentations at national scientific meetings and 9 publications in peer-reviewed journals. During their 12-week internships, interns spend nearly 11 days on shadowing, observations and other field trips. Eligibility and application details are listed below. Completed applications must be submitted by the deadline of January 31 for consideration.
Eligibility for the Research Internship Program
The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® is seeking a diverse pool of interns based on a combination of demonstrated academic performance, leadership and career aspirations in the field of cardiology and/or research. Internships are full-time, paid and last 11-12 weeks. In order to be successful, we strongly recommend that applicants meet the following criteria:

  1. Enrolled in a U.S.-based accredited degree program in a health care or related discipline.
  2. Preference will be given to undergraduates who are rising juniors or seniors, but undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students are eligible to apply.
  3. Have a GPA of 3.60 or above (upon offer, will be verified by transcript).
  4. Available to begin work on the first Monday in June.
  5. Available to work full-time each week from June through August.

In compliance with federal law, upon hire, interns will be required to produce original documents verifying their identity and authorization to work in the United States. Upon acceptance of an internship offer, interns will be required to submit documentation to verify that they have met the immunization requirements established by Abbott Northwestern Hospital. Seasonal flu vaccination is mandatory unless medically contraindicated.

How to Apply

To apply for the research internship, please click here.

Application Deadline
All of the requested information must be submitted by January 31 to be considered.
Time Commitment
This internship is a full-time commitment from June through August. Interns should not plan to be out of the office any more than 1-2 days during that time period.
Interns will be paid a stipend of $400 per week. Program staff and/or mentors may be able to offer additional observation hours that interns can participate in on a voluntary basis.
Internship Program Leaders

Michael Miedema, MD, lead physician for the internship program

Eva Kovacs Zewdie, Manager of Professional Education

Jolene Bell Makowesky, Professional Education Specialist


Please click here to see research internship frequently asked questions.

Advice From Previous Interns

Describe your experience this summer. 

My experience this summer at MHIF showed me not only what I want to do in the future, but also what I do not want to do. First, it solidified my desire to pursue a career in medicine, and more specifically, a career that is patient‐oriented. After shadowing the nurses and physicians, I found that I really enjoy the patient interaction aspect of the medical field and want to have that direct impact on my patients as individuals. On the other hand, I have found that I do not want to specialize in cardiology, not because it is uninteresting but because it would not match my personality very well.

This summer, I learned the importance of foresight, an optimistic attitude, and hard work. Along with the challenges of my first work with clinical research, I saw things that affected me as a person. During observations in the hospital, patients presented from all walks of life. Some were angry while others were grateful. Some were preparing to die, but others were getting a new chance at life. Different healthcare professionals’ bedside manners caught my attention; some were appealing and some were not. From the internship, I learned that I am interested in clinical research in my future. I also developed a better understanding of my motivations for going into medicine and a clearer vision of the kind of physician I want to be.

What would you say to a friend who was considering this internship? 

Do it. There is no better place where you can get a holistic view of healthcare while having the responsibility to work on your own research project. It is the perfect opportunity for interactive learning, critical thinking, and relationship building. There is nothing more awesome than getting to be a part of a state‐of‐the‐art, cutting‐edge research facility while learning the ins and outs of the healthcare team. The physicians have high expectations of the interns, but they never leave you with a project that you cannot handle. If you want to work hard and learn a lot, this program is for you.

Definitely apply. It’s much different from lab research, but you can get real experience dealing with the difficult complexities of human subjects. The summer at MHIF will allow you opportunities to see life in research and in medicine. You will find people that you admire, and you might find people who do not impress you. Either way, your concept of medicine will be better and more seasoned for it. You will learn more than you expect, and you will be able to do a great deal of soul searching simultaneously.

What surprised you about your experience here?

I was surprised at how much responsibility I was given in the Ranolazine study. I was responsible for collecting all of the data and after the data was analyzed, I presented my data and trends to Dr. H. and was encouraged by his initial positive reaction. I didn’t think it was possible to revise existing data, input my own data, and clean my data all within one summer to produce a product that will be submitted to ACC. This program afforded me a very unique experience to publish as an undergraduate and continue research in between my undergraduate and medical schooling.

Before this summer, I had not had a lot of exposure to clinical medicine. This summer changed that, and I learned about some great things about being a doctor, but also some notsogood things. I didn’t fully realize how horrible the hours were. I don’t think this made me not want to go into medicine, but it made me realize that I have to think really hard about what I want to do in life. Medicine is definitely not the easiest road, even if it might be the most rewarding.

Did any of your experiences this summer refine or redirect your education and career goals? What was the experience, and what changed? 

There were some days when I was frustrated and discouraged. These moments of uncertainty, however, were far overshadowed by my positive experiences. I went to work every day looking forward to what lay ahead. I realized that the challenge of medicine isn’t the easy way out, but it’s the right one for me. I have gained confidence in myself and realize that it is the right place for me. This summer has also ignited in me an interest in research, something I never considered before this summer. I always thought that research wasn’t really my thing, but now I see that it can be exciting and rewarding

What was your least enjoyable part of this internship? Why?

The least enjoyable part of this internship was leaving! I hated to see all of my fellow interns leave because they were all such a pleasure to both work and have fun with. All of the staff was so helpful, and the environment of MHIF is very conducive to learning and helping us younger interns to mature into confident people who are prepared to undertake the duties of being a physician.

What advice would you give to future interns for how to get the most out of their internship experiences? 

My internship experience was very enjoyable and intellectually stimulating. Other interns can have the same experience if they remember that research is not always a smoothly operating, efficient process. They should not be discouraged with setbacks, delays, changes, or tedious work. Most of research can be dull until the data analysis and results evaluation actually begins. It is very important to maintain constant communication with your physician mentor and continue to report your progress. Finally, it is crucial to ask countless questions, especially during observations, because that is the only way one can learn.

Other general comments: 

“Successful premed students generally shadow physicians during college, but I think something that makes MHIF unique is that many students go further than this and have working relationships with doctors. The physicians I’ve worked with have been great with giving me their time and enthusiasm, responding to my questions and discussing my ideas for how to go forward in projects. At the very least, I got a much better sense for physician culture. Overall, I think MHIF has been one of my most valuable career experiences.”

“I would recommend this internship hands down to any pre-medical student. I have really solidified my career goal of being committed to the forefront of research and clinic. I desire to be at an institute or academic environment where, in addition to patient care, colleagues have an overall commitment to furthering knowledge of medicine and teaching residents, fellows, and students.”

“This is an exceptional program that I would recommend to any student who is considering a career in the health professions. Without this internship, it would have been virtually impossible to have exposure in the cardiovascular clinical setting. I got to work on an entire project which yielded valuable information that is publishable. I’ll definitely rate this program a five star.”

“During the summer all the shadowing opportunities, the research work, the lunch presentations, and the networking I was able to engage in with staff and fellow interns was a truly invaluable experience. I enjoyed my time here greatly and I am so very thankful for the wonderful opportunity I was given to work on and learn the things I did.”

“I would absolutely recommend this program to others. I doubt there is a program like it where the premedical students get such incredible access to the physicians of a hospital and get to observe all the things that go on in the cardiovascular diagnostics and inpatient areas. The learning is incredible, but one of the other great things is the sense of how research is conducted that you can take from the experience. As a student entering medical school, I found that the internship will have prepared me well for my future learning in the field.”

“This internship has been a great experience and I would strongly recommend it to others. Through my employment at MHI, I have learned so much about cardiology, clinical research, and the medical profession in general. Throughout this summer I have been able to meet numerous individuals with a variety of backgrounds. I feel this experience has expanded my horizons and has given me deeper perspective on the most pressing issues affecting health care today. I cannot imagine a better experience than the one I received as a summer intern at MHIF.”

A Former Intern Talks About the MHIF Research Internship Program

By Erin Lips, 2011 Lead Intern 

Thank you for your interest in the MHIF summer research internship! This program offers unique opportunities that are normally unavailable to premedical students. During the internship, each intern receives an individual clinical research project. That being said, most interns do not work directly with patients while completing their projects. Most of the work is done in an office setting. While data collection can be tedious and detail-oriented, data analysis with the resident statistician is enormously rewarding.

Interns must be motivated and curious about new frontiers in medicine. While learning the importance of sheer determination and hard work, interns are exposed to the real highs and lows of doing research with human patients. Aside from the research, however, participation in this program lends itself to frequent shadowing with a variety of healthcare professionals and exposure to the daily operations within a hospital. If selected to be an intern, this experience of working with supportive experts will push you to be creative and will also give you a realistic view of life in the world of medicine. Good luck to you!

The Work: 

  • Office Work: Most intern projects involve sorting through patient charts to gather relevant information. Due to the nature of this type of clinical research, interns spend most of their work time in the office cubicles rather than with patients in the hospital.
  • Weekly Journals: Interns are required to submit a journal entry by the end of each week to reflect on project progress and shadowing experiences. Within the journal template, interns are free to be as concise or verbose as they please.
  • Final Presentation: At the end of the summer, each intern demonstrates what he or she has learned and completed by providing a 10 minute presentation for the other interns, any physicians involved, and the MHIF staff.
  • Section Managers and Physician Mentors: Each intern will have contact with a section manager and the physician mentor (primary investigator) for guidance with his or her project. Both individuals are important resources and are very helpful throughout the program. Physician mentors may provide additional shadowing experiences and educational opportunities.

The Experience: 

  • The Social Life of an Intern: The group of interns each year is always an entertaining and humorous group. Interns eat lunch together every day to promote conversation and camaraderie. The friendships formed at MHIF often serve as important connections in the future.
  • Lunch and Learns: During most weeks, a physician or guest speaker will provide a presentation about his or her area of work over a catered lunch. This is always a fun, social event to provide education outside of each intern’s project area.
  • Shadowing Days: During most weeks, each intern will be scheduled to shadow at an assigned station in the hospital for a morning or afternoon.

Each intern will be able to shadow with a variety of different nurse stations in the Heart Hospital. These days offer the most patient contact, as interns are able to engage in conversation with patients and observe their daily care in a personal way. Interns spend a day with a Nurse Practitioner, which is an excellent one-on-one opportunity to ask questions and to observe patient checkups.

Interns are assigned to watch open heart surgery in the cardiovascular operating room and to observe angioplasties, ablations, and pacemaker implantations in the catheterization and electrophysiology labs.

Interns spend time in cardiovascular diagnostic services (CVDS), where they learn about all kinds of cardiovascular imaging: CT, MR, nuclear stress testing, and echocardiographic stress testing.

Every Wednesday morning, different interns are assigned to attend the Vascular Clinical Case Conference, during which physicians gather to discuss difficult or educational vascular cases from the past week.

Other Unique Opportunities: 

  • Trips to medical device companies to tour their facilities and simulation labs.
  • A visit to the heart registry at United Hospital, where they were able handle preserved soft tissue hearts afflicted by various diseases under the instruction of a pathologist.
  • Because MHIF is adjacent to Abbott Northwestern Hospital, many interns were able to pick up additional shadowing experiences with cardiologists, surgeons, and nurses. Observations included bone marrow harvests, vein ablations and sclerotherapy treatments, and the entire treatment process for emergent “Level 1” heart attack patients.