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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 on 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. 

Focus of Internship Projects

San Mateo County Health is seeking graduate-level (master’s degree) student interns to join the HPP team, a program within the Public Health, Policy and Planning Division. 

Health equity intern

The focus of the Health Equity Intern will be to assist HPP staff in researching and documenting emerging governance practices and strategies during the pandemic that centered on health and racial equity and help to identify policy and financial opportunities for an equitable COVID-19 recovery.

More specifically, the Intern will work on any of the following:

  • Conduct an analysis of model and emerging equitable governance practices that centered equity
  • Help craft case studies on equitable governance practices that emerged during the pandemic
  • Develop strategic and culturally relevant communications material to share research findings
  • Assist staff in identifying opportunities to implement inclusive procurement and hiring policies: surveying County procurement and hiring policies, map existing assets and programs, and research model interventions
  • Support stakeholder forums on racial health equity and equitable COVID-19 recovery efforts

Healthy and Resilient Communities Intern

The focus of the Intern will be to assist HPP staff in researching climate change and its intersection with health and racial equity and supporting efforts to advance health and racial equity in climate change initiatives.

More specifically, the Intern will work on any of the following:

  • Conduct a landscape analysis of strategies used by local partners to address heat events and identify gaps
  • Craft a variety of outreach materials on the health impacts of different climate hazards such as extreme heat, floods, and poor air quality.
  • Develop strategic and culturally relevant communications material to share research findings
  • Support stakeholder forums on racial health equity and its intersection with climate change

Important Internship Program Dates

Fall 2021
  • Recruitment: June 28 – August 2
  • Application Deadline: August 2, 5:00 p.m. PST
  • Interviews: August 11-13
  • Fall Internship begins: September 13 (flexible)

Internship Eligibility

  • Current students in a master’s degree program or graduates of a master’s degree 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 a variety of locations or organizations

Internship Term & Pay

This HPP Internship program runs year-round. The Fall Internship cycle runs from September to December 2021, and the intern must commit to working between 16-20 hours per week. Reasonable timeframe adjustments can be negotiated. Current graduate students are paid between $25.21 and $33.62 per hour depending on experience.

How to Apply

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

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

Application Packets:

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.