Vitamin D and COVID-19 Research

AmeriCorps Program: Vitamin D Research Community Outreach 

We are now accepting applications for full and part time positions for the 2021-22 year beginning throughout the fall (October-November 2021).  Short term positions, as well as positions that last up to a year, are available. Contact us to learn more about what types of positions may be available!

Below are the position descriptions Vitamin D Community Outreach at University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC). Visit our C4P AmeriCorps Program website to learn about other host sites.

What is AmeriCorps?

AmeriCorps is a national service program that involves people in “getting things done” in communities. AmeriCorps members develop an ethic of service while strengthening local communities. Each year in Illinois, thousands of AmeriCorps members give millions of dollars in service back to their communities. For up-to-date information on the impact on our state, visit AmeriCorps.gov.

Vitamin D, COVID-19, and Overall Health

There is evidence that vitamin D may prevent or improve outcomes in many chronic or acute conditions, including depression, diabetes, acute and chronic respiratory conditions, and, recently, COVID-19. Evidence from research led by our Vitamin D research team and Dr. David Meltzer, AmeriCorps Program Director, published in JAMA Network Open, supports the hypothesis that vitamin D deficiency may also affect COVID-19 risk, finding that patients with vitamin D deficiency that was not adequately treated were almost twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 than patients who were not vitamin D deficient.

These associations are especially important because nearly half of the US population is vitamin D deficient, with higher rates among persons with darker skin and/or lower sun exposure, including those living in higher latitudes in the winter, nursing home residents, and health care workers. Vitamin D deficiency and its negative impact are especially common among people of color, so we are particularly interested in engaging these individuals, who are often under-represented in medical research, in future studies on vitamin D.  

To determine whether vitamin D supplementation can help prevent COVID-19 and other health conditions, the Vitamin D research team at the UCMC has launched a randomized controlled trial locally in Chicago and a second one nationally. You can learn more about these vitamin D research studies here. Providing learning opportunities to individuals and communities about vitamin D and vitamin D research is an important extension of our work so that we can help people make informed decisions about their own health and about participating in research. We are proud to join the network of AmeriCorps programs funded through the American Rescue Plan Act to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and help respond to the public health, education, and economic crisis caused by the pandemic.

What will I do as a Vitamin D Research Community Outreach AmeriCorps member?

AmeriCorps members will extend the work of the Vitamin D research team by conducting outreach to provide education about vitamin D and opportunities to participate in studies of vitamin for persons locally and nationally, and by helping them making informed decisions about taking vitamin D and participating in studies about vitamin D.

AmeriCorps member responsibilities include:

  • Conduct direct community outreach, both locally and nationally, to provide learning opportunities about vitamin D and vitamin D research
  • Conduct outreach about vitamin D and vitamin D research to patients and visitors within UCMC
  • Identify and build relationships with community partners who are interested in helping share information with the community about vitamin D and vitamin D research
  • Members may also have the opportunity to be involved in and support the Comprehensive Care, Community, and Culture Program (C4P)

Where will I serve as a C4P AmeriCorps member?

Vitamin D community outreach members will be based at the UChicago Medical Center and will attend events throughout the community.

What are the program eligibility requirements?

To be eligible to serve as an AmeriCorps member, you must:

  • Be 18 years or older. We encourage current undergraduate students to apply, as well as adults over 55!
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Some college experience is preferred, although individuals with a high school diploma or equivalent are welcome to apply
  • Members may be required to work some evening or weekend hours.
  • Members will be expected to comply with University of Chicago vaccine requirements

 

What are the expectations and benefits of being a member?

We have both part and full time positions available. Below we describe three types of positions: 1) part time positions that are 10-15 hours per week for 30 weeks, for a total of 300 hours of service; 2) part time positions that are 20-25 hours per week for 10-11 months, for a total of 900 service hours; 3) full-time positions that are 40 hours per week for 10-11 months, for a total of 1700 hours of service.

Positions that are full time for 3-4 months may also be available; please contact us to discuss.

As a 300 hour member (10-15 hours per week for approximately 30 weeks), you will:

  • Complete at least 300 hours of service. Some evening or weekend hours may be required. This position type is a great fit for current undergraduate students looking for a part time AmeriCorps member role during the academic year.
  • Receive a living allowance of $3,388.24 over your term of service. Living allowances are disbursed biweekly.
  • Earn a Segal Education grant in the amount of $1,678.57 that can be applied to student tuition or loans within seven years of completing your year of service. If you are older than 55 at the time of service, you can give the education grant to a child or grandchild.

As a 900 hour member (20-25 hours per week for 10-11 months):

  • Complete at least 900 hours of service. Some evening or weekend hours may be required.
  • Receive a living allowance of $10,164.71 over your term of service. Living allowances are disbursed biweekly.
  • Earn a Segal Education grant in the amount of $3,172.50 that can be applied to student tuition or loans within seven years of completing your year of service. If you are older than 55 at the time of service, you can give the education grant to a child or grandchild.

As a 1700 hour member (40 hours per week, 10-11 months), you will:

  • Complete at least 1700 hours of service (40 hours per week) over 10-11 months, for full time members.  Some evening and weekend hours are required.
  • Receive a living allowance of $19,200 over the course of your year of service. Living allowances are disbursed biweekly.
  • Earn a Segal Education grant in the amount of $6,345 that can be applied to student tuition or loans within seven years of completing your year of service. If you are older than 55 at the time of service, you can give the education grant to a child or grandchild.
  • Be eligible for health insurance, including dental and vision, if not already covered.
  • May be eligible for child care benefits.

All members receive:

  • Eligibility to apply for loan forbearance and interest accrual payments through AmeriCorps
  • Professional and career development opportunities
  • The opportunity to attend workshops, seminars, and trainings at the University of Chicago
  • Gain experience and knowledge of the research process, the health care system, and social services.

How is the C4P AmeriCorps member experience impacted by COVID-19?

New members who join us in the fall of the 2021-22 academic year should anticipate completing their service all or predominantly in person. All members are expected to comply with the University of Chicago vaccine requirements; we also follow local and institutional guidelines around masking and social distancing. 

How do I apply?

Click here to apply. 

You will be asked to submit:

  1. A resume
  2. A cover letter or statement describing your interest in the C4P AmeriCorps Program

Select candidates will be invited to interview over the phone or in person.

Contact

Kelsey Bogue
Director of Training and Communications
Center for Health and the Social Sciences (CHeSS), UChicago
Kbogue@bsd.uchicago.edu
773-702-4401

Non-Discrimination Statement

The University of Chicago, the C4P AmeriCorps Program, and its host sites do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law (including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972). Read the full statement and learn more here.