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Health Policy & Planning Internships


Health Policy & Planning Internships

Internship Overview

The Health Policy & Planning (HPP) Internship Program is designed to provide work opportunities and practical learning experiences in public health, policy, planning, and research, with an emphasis in health equity and place-based primary prevention. 

HPP Framework: Primary Prevention & Health Equity

There is a growing recognition that where we live, work, play and go to school shape our health. HPP focuses on building healthy, equitable communities that prevent people from getting sick in the first place. HPP works to ensure all people have the opportunity for health and well-being and seeks to build health equity by addressing the root causes of poor health, such as the social, economic, and physical conditions around us. To achieve this goal, HPP employs expertise in policy, planning, research, equity, communications, and advocacy. HPP has a particular focus on supporting populations with higher rates of preventable health issues and in places with the fewest opportunities for health. HPP is currently focused on four areas of work: 1) Stable and affordable housing: protects health and provides the ability to engage in healthy opportunities, 2) Complete neighborhoods: make it easy for residents to be healthy every day in their own communities, 3) High-quality education: creates pathways to better health, and 4) Strong local economy: builds household financial security for all.

Focus of Internship Projects

San Mateo County Health is seeking two (2) graduate-level (master’s program) student interns to join the HPP team, a program within the Public Health, Policy and Planning Division. Below are the projects we are recruiting interns to work June through August 2019.

Civic Engagement and Health Intern

The Civic Engagement and Health Intern will assist Health System staff in researching the impact of civic engagement on community health and developing strategies for addressing the root causes of racial health inequities. They will conduct analyze current conditions, synthesize model practices, and help communicate the connections between social inclusion and health. More specifically, they will work on any of the following:

  • Help craft brief on health impacts of social exclusion and civic engagement.
  • Support analysis of local leadership development and civic engagement assets, needs, and gaps
  • Conduct an analysis of model practices that optimize civic engagement of marginalized populations
  • Develop strategic communications material to share research findings
  • Support stakeholder forums on racial health equity and civic engagement
Healthy Economy Intern

The focus of the internship project will be to assist Health System staff in a) researching and implementing anchor strategies to maximize institutional resources’ ability to address economic determinants of health; b) exploring the health impacts of fees and fines on vulnerable residents. More specifically, the intern will work on the following tasks:

  • Support implementation of inclusive hiring pilot project
  • Assist staff in identifying opportunities to implement inclusive procurement policies: surveying County procurement policies, map existing assets and programs, and research model interventions
  • Conduct research, map key stakeholders, examine best practices and develop internal documents and communication materials to help staff better understand how fees and fines impact the financial security and health of vulnerable residents

Important Internship Program Dates

Summer 2019
  • Recruitment: Closed
  • Deadline: February 28 at 5 p.m. PST.
  • Interviews: March 11-15
  • Selections: March 25-29
  • Internship Cycle: June through August 2019
Fall 2019
  • Recruitment opens in August.

Internship Eligibility

  • Current students in a master’s program or graduates of a master’s program are eligible to apply.
  • You may not be a current San Mateo County employee.
  • Successful applicants will possess a deep passion for addressing health inequities and experience working to change them. Relevant experience may include:
    • Personal or family experience dealing with inequitable economic, social, health and educational systems and environments. For instance: being the first in your family to attend higher education, growing up in a low-income neighborhood, experiencing housing/financial instability, or facing racial/ethnic or other types of discrimination.
    • Professional experience in a program that promotes equity (this can be through a multitude of intervention types and variety of locations or organizations

Internship Term & Pay

This HPP Internship program runs year round. The Summer Internship cycle June through August 2019 and the intern must commit to working between 32-40 hours per week. Reasonable timeframe adjustments can be negotiated. Current graduate students pay starts at $24.00 per hour depending on experience.

How to Apply

Complete and submit an application packet to with the following required attachments: 

  1. Cover Letter: Please describe your interest in and qualifications for this internship in the cover letter including position you are applying for.
  2. Resume
  3. Completed application and supplemental questionnaire 

Summer 2019 Application Packets: Unavailable

The application deadline for the summer 2019 internship cycle is February 28, 2019, 12 p.m. PST.

Only completed applications will be reviewed; please contact us if you do not receive a confirmation we received your application within 2-3 business days. If selected, you will be invited for an interview. In-person interviews are strongly preferred, but telephone interviews can be arranged if needed.