Clinical Research Internship

Developing and empowering the next generation of cardiovascular health professionals through a cutting-edge research internship program

Educating the Next Generation

The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF) offers one of the most outstanding and unique internship opportunities available to undergraduates who are pre-med or planning a career in medicine. The goal of the research internship program is to develop and empower the next generation of cardiovascular health professionals by offering a robust research experience in the field of cardiology.

During this unique educational experience, the research intern is paired with a physician mentor who is actively engaged as a clinician and researcher at a nationally recognized hospital. At the conclusion of the program, the interns will showcase their research work at an open house and poster session. Many projects result in the intern having the opportunity to be an author on an article published in a national scientific journal. Some interns also have the opportunity to present their work at a national cardiovascular conference.

Intern Program Highlights

Since 2002, more than 200 research interns have contributed to…

109 posters and presentations
at national scientific sessions



137 publications
in peer-reviewed journals



Where are they now?

Research Internship Details

Research Internship Overview

Be a part of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation’s exceptional 12-week cardiovascular clinical research internship designed for undergraduate students who are pre-med or planning a career in medicine. During this unique educational experience you will be paired with a physician mentor who is actively engaged as a clinician and researcher at a nationally recognized hospital. You will have the opportunity to:

  • Participate in groundbreaking cardiovascular research
  • Shadow a physician mentor in hospital rounds, watch procedures and listen as care teams discuss cases.
  • Observe an open-heart procedure.
  • Attend case conferences where cross-functional care teams discuss difficult cases.
  • Shadow cardiovascular nurses in the ICU and post-surgical care area.
  • Observe leading-edge cardiovascular diagnostic services.
  • Reflect on your career options while hearing physicians’ candid stories of career journeys and passions during lunch and learns.
  • Participate in interactive medical device industry tours and a hands-on tour of cardiovascular specimens at a nationally renowned heart registry.

At the conclusion of the internship, you will showcase your research work at an open house and poster session. Many projects result in the intern having the opportunity to be an author on an article published in a national scientific journal. Some interns will also have the opportunity to present their work at a national cardiovascular conference.

Location: On the campus of the flagship hospital of Allina Health, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Program dates: May 26-August 13, 2021

Compensation: A $480 per week (less taxes) stipend paid bi-weekly to assist with expenses. We are not able to offer housing support. However, scholarship opportunities may be available for accepted applicants who need housing/transportation support.

Key Dates

Application opens: November 13, 2020

Application deadline: January 6, 2021

Selection notification: March 5, 2021

Program dates: May 26-August 13, 2021

  • Undergraduate or recent graduate from a four-year college. Preference will be given to those who have completed their junior year by the start of the research internship. Strong applicants who have completed their sophomore year, just graduated from college or are enrolled in a post-baccalaureate pre-med program will also be considered.
  • Must be enrolled in an accredited degree program.
  • GPA of 3.60 or above.
  • Applicants must be US citizens or have Permanent Resident status (be able to provide proof of employability through completion of the I-9 Form). The program welcomes students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and/or who represent groups that are known to be underrepresented in health related sciences and medicine.
  • Must be able to complete 8-12 hours of independent, online CITI training (basic training required to participate in human subjects/clinical research) by April 30.
  • Available to participate full-time (at least 40 hours per week) during the internship period.
Steps Before You Apply
  • Review the sample application PDF and prepare responses to the short answer and essay questions. Please note: This is a sample application and the questions may be different on the actual application for the next cohort.
  • Write a personal motivation statement (3,500 characters including spaces).
  • Prepare a one-page resume (save as PDF or Word doc with file name First Name_Last Name ).
  • Note that you will have the opportunity to make changes to your application before submitting.
Program Components

In preparing for a career in medicine, this experience will position you well through a unique opportunity to participate in cardiovascular clinical research, shadow clinicians in action and witness everything from a routine day to extraordinary life-saving procedures.

  • Orientation: Three days of orientation will prepare you for your research project, ground you in cardiovascular essentials and introduce you to the colleagues you will be working with, including your research physician, staff mentor and fellow interns.
  • Research project: You will be paired with a physician who is the Principal Investigator on a research project and a staff mentor. In addition to capturing data from the electronic health record, organizing and analyzing the data and preparing conclusions, you may also write case reports and support other research projects.
  • Observations: To provide you with exposure to what a career is really like in the field of medicine, you will observe various cardiovascular procedures, shadow healthcare professionals and visit cardiovascular related departments at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. Additionally, interns shadow healthcare professionals in the ICU and post-procedural care areas.
  • Field Trips: Minneapolis is a hub for headquarters of major medical device companies and start-ups. You will have custom tours of some major medical device companies, the renowned Visible Heart Lab at the University of Minnesota and the Jesse E. Edwards Registry of Cardiovascular Disease. This registry is a repository for heart specimens of almost every known type of heart disease, including rare congenital and adult heart diseases.
  • Poster Session: The culminating event of the research internship program, you will display your outcomes on a research poster and present to mentors, other medical professionals, MHIF board members, family and friends.
  • Cohort Activities: The internship draws talent from across the country. Many interns gain friends for life through their summer experience in Minneapolis. In addition to MHIF-organized activities, interns plan activities for the weekends. Past interns have enjoyed camping, hiking, canoeing, BBQs and exploring the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many applications do you typically receive?

150-250 each year

How many research interns are accepted?

Should I apply if my GPA is below 3.6?
A 3.6 GPA or above is highly preferred. The application has a space to explain extenuating circumstances.

Is a social security number (SSN) required to participate in this research internship?
Yes, a SSN is required by the US Internal Revenue Service of all employers who report wages (stipend). Further information regarding SSNs can be found on the Social Security fact page.

Can I submit a letter of recommendation with my application?
No. The online application with an attached resume are the accepted items.

The academic calendar for my school ends after Memorial Day or starts before the research internship program ends. Can I still apply?
Interns are to be available to participate full-time in the internship from May 26 through August 13, 2020 with the first three days of orientation being key to a successful internship. Explain your circumstances in the eligibility section for consideration.

I anticipate attending summer classes. Can I still apply?
This research internship is a full-time endeavor. It is not advised to apply.

What are the typical days/hours for this internship? What if I have a conflict?
The internship program begins May 26 and ends August 13. MHIF is closed on July 4th. If interns have an important conflict, it should be pre-approved and should be limited to no more than 1-2 business days during the internship.

Core intern work days/hours are Monday to Friday from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm. Projects may require additional hours as deadlines approach. There are also some evening events or early morning observations.

I will be applying to medical school or doing medical school interviews during the summer. Can I still apply?
Completing medical school applications is acceptable and needs to be completed outside of the research internship work hours. Attending medical school interviews are possible as long as the intern fulfills the expectations for the internship, which can require additional hours over and above scheduled work hours.

What statistical and software skills are needed?
Interns will be using statistical software (including R), Excel, Word, and PowerPoint to build and maintain data dictionaries, do data cleaning, data validation, data verification, and work with demographic data. While some training will be provided, a working knowledge of these tools will be helpful.

Do you provide housing support?
Generally we are not able to offer housing support. However, we share intern contact information for roommate collaborations and recommend researching the University of Minnesota campus (approximately two miles away), Facebook and Craigslist for short-term rental or sublet options. Scholarship opportunities may be available for accepted applicants who need housing/transportation support.

Can I apply again, if I am not selected this time?
Yes, as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements.

Where can send a question if my question is not answered here?

Intern Experience

During the summer research internship, interns will be exposed to a vast array of clinical research and educational experiences. They will be matched with a physician and staff mentor, who will guide them through a clinical research project throughout the summer. This valuable exposure takes place at a nationally ranked and award-winning hospital, Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In addition to many observations of surgery and procedures in the hospital, interns will embark on several field trips to destinations including the University of Minnesota Heart Lab, medical device companies and research organizations. Weekly Lunch and Learn presentations from the renowned cardiologists at the Minneapolis Heart Institute® and other guest speakers will offer exposure to the wide range of research happening at MHIF and unique career paths.

Learn more about the intern experience here >

Meet the 2020 Interns

Due to COVID-19, our Clinical Research Internship Program during the summer of 2020 looked a little different. While the program typically welcomes 10-12 interns from across the country, for 2020 the program was scaled back to three interns from the Twin Cities area, who worked mostly remotely to assist with physician-initiated research projects. While the interns may not have been able to have all the typical intern experiences, they learned a tremendous amount from their physician and staff mentors and were able to help MHIF researchers continue several important research studies.

  • Chris Gitter returned to the program as lead intern and worked with Dr. Eric Fenstad on a pulmonary hypertension study. Meet Chris Gitter
  • Intern Archana Murali worked with Dr. Jason Alexander on a study involving veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA ECMO) complications. Meet Archana Murali
  • Intern Ananya Shah worked with Dr. Jay Traverse looking at microvascular obstructions (MVO) following STEMI heart attacks. Meet Ananya Shah
  • All three interns worked cooperatively on a study with Dr. Robert Hauser and Dr. Jay Sengupta looking at longevity of cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs).

 You can also meet our 2019 Interns >

Left to right: Ananya Shah, Chris Gitter, Archana Murali

“I’m really thankful that this internship specifically was able to happen, because of all the hard work behind the scenes that all of the different staff members did … from the staff mentors to the physician mentors, to scientific services … to everyone behind the scenes.” — Chris Gitter, Lead Intern

Intern Program Sponsors

This cutting-edge educational experience is made possible by the generous contributions of individual donors, local foundations and industry organizations who share in the belief that hands-on experience is critical for tomorrow’s leaders. Financial support from donors means interns can work with both a staff and a physician mentor to learn about the research process and cardiology. In addition, contributions make enrichment experiences such as guest speakers and field trips possible.

Our sincere thanks to the generous corporations, foundations and individuals that have helped to underwrite the MHIF Research Internship Program!

Internship Sponsors List

Internship Supporters

Named Internship Supporters

The Culp Family Foundation

Dianne and Cline Hickok

Richard Kantrud*

John and Susan Morrison

Buzz and Carolyn Pierce Family



Program Donors

Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation

Jason Alexander and Leila Tabibian

Nicholas Burke and Sue Slattery-Burke

Alex Campbell

Ivan and Gail Chavez

Doni Family Trust

The Joseph Durda Foundation

Sandra and David Forster Sr.

Charles Jr. and Nancy Gornick

The Gornick Family Foundation

Kevin and Ila Harris

Hopkins Youth Hockey Association

Michael and Susan Horovitz

Mark and Susan Houghland

David and Stacey Hurrell

Thomas III and Victoria Keller

Maureen Kucera-Walsh and Michael Walsh

Daniel, Erin and Martha Lips

Dick and Joyce McFarland

Michael and Allison Miedema

Marc and Kari Newell

Piper Jaffray Companies

Ruth Stricker and Bruce Dayton*

Timothy and Amy Sullivan

Jay and Sarah Traverse

Robert and Betty Van Tassel


*Notes deceased

Any Gift, Big or Small, has a Significant Impact on People’s Lives