Mechanisms of Human Health and Disease

Established in 2006, Mechanisms is a fast-paced, in-depth program designed to challenge the serious science student who is interested in medicine or medical research. Students in the Mechanisms program investigate cancer and other disease topics with lectures from research experts. At the final class, students present their research paper to family, teachers and researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. This course is lecture and activity based, there is no lab component.


Introduce motivated and high-achieving high school science students to college level curriculum for medical and biomedical research careers.


At the end of the program, the students are able to:

  • Discuss college-level content in cellular and molecular biology, genetic engineering, physical and medicinal chemistry, immunology, virology, biomedical information and pathophysiology.
  • Gain a competitive edge by developing life skills including networking, resume, writing, school selection, job applications, learning strategies and business communications.
  • Complete an independent project in molecular pathophysiology.
  • Complete an apprenticeship group project for a selected career path.
  • Explore career options in medicine and biomedical research.


Class is designed for incoming seniors currently enrolled in 11th grade. Other students who meet the prerequisites will be considered. The average ACT of students accepted into the program in 2017 was 33.


High school biology and chemistry. No exceptions will be made.

Class Size

We will accept up to 30 qualified candidates into the summer 2018 class.

Attendance and Commitment

  • Students must attend and participate in all class and group project sessions. No exceptions.
  • Students spend an average of 10-15 hours each week on readings, research and papers outside of class.
  • Students will be required to read two books, before class begins.
  • Students prepare for final presentation by creating an outline, final paper and presentation. Average paper length is 10 pages.
  • In a survey given to participants 83% reported Mechanisms was the most challenging experience in their academic career.


Monday and Thursday evenings: June 11 - July 23, 2018 from 5:30 - 9 p.m.

  • Field trips to OSU Clinical Skills Center and OSU Cadaver Lab will be offered.


Nationwide Children’s Hospital Education Center
700 Children’s Drive
Columbus, Ohio 43205


  • $100 per student.
  • Snacks and refreshments are provided. Limited partial scholarships available.
  • No application fee.

Previous Student Successes

Mechanisms participants have enjoyed continued academic success enrolling in prestigious institutions including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Brown, and Yale.

A Typical Class

The following is an example of a typical class period:

  • 5:00 p.m. Open Office Hours
  • 5:30 p.m. Quiz
  • 5:40 p.m. Speaker Panel
  • 6:45 p.m. College Level Course Information
  • 7:15 p.m. Pathophysiology Lecture
  • 7:45 p.m. Teaching Assistant Lecture
  • 8:30 p.m. Competitive Edge
  • 8:55 p.m. Wrap-up
  • 9:00 p.m. Adjourn


Students will be notified of their acceptance into the program no sooner than May 7, 2018.


You can apply electronically or by mail. Do not apply both ways. Students that apply both ways will have points deducted from their application.

  • Electronic: Click the link below to access the electronic application. You can go in and out of the system as many times as you want but write down your ID# so you can return to your partially completed application. Be sure to click SUBMIT when you are done. If you do not click submit, your application cannot be accepted.
    • Click here to access the electronic application.
  • If you prefer to apply by mail, print off the application form. Fill it in completely. When finished, email or mail the completed application, including essays, to or Community Education, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, 700 Children’s Drive, Columbus, OH 43205. Mail must be postmarked no later than March 23, 2018.
    • Click here to download an application.
  • Late or partial applications will NOT be accepted. No exceptions.

Student Selection

Students are selected by a panel of researchers and physicians at Nationwide Children’s Hospital based on the caliber of their program application and essays. Applications are evaluated through a blind review process.

Top Student

The top student from each class is given the opportunity to participate in an internship at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The top 5 students will receive dedicated mentorship and are invited to return the following year as a teaching assistant.


Contact Marcie Rehmar at
(614) 355-0662