Inside NHPHA: Harnessing the Power of Interns

Inside NHPHA

A Monthly Column Written by NHPHA Leadership

Harnessing the Power of Interns

written by Joan Ascheim, MSN, Executive Director

One of New Hampshire Public Health Association’s (NHPHA) strategic priorities is to strengthen the public health workforce through membership engagement and professional development. While you may be familiar with our educational offerings, you may not know that we have an intern program to help connect public health students to real-world public health placements. That program takes several forms.

Intern Stipends

interns get on the job experienceEach year we are allocated a number of intern stipends from the New England Public Health Training Center at Boston University that we award to public health or other health student majors who meet the internship requirements. This year three interns received stipends to tackle a variety of projects. NHPHA was fortunate to engage Lyzbeth Best, an MPH student from George Washington University, to conduct a feasibility study to determine if New Hampshire public health professionals would benefit from a learning collaborative around the social determinants of health. Lyz interviewed public health partners around the state and summarized her positive findings, which will be used to direct NHPHA programming going forward. Lyz notes, "Working with the NHPHA as an intern has given me practical, hands-on experience to complement my MPH studies. Everyone has been so helpful and eager to contribute to my work. I look forward to sharing my results.”

Emily Sorey-Backus is an MPH student at the University of New Hampshire who is lending her energy and expertise to NEA-NH to analyze a survey sent to schools relative to student mental health and will be conducting Mental Health First Aid training at a number of events. 

While pursuing her MPH from Dartmouth College, Fiona McEnany is interning with the HIV/HCV Resource Center in the Upper Valley. She is administering and analyzing surveys conducted at syringe exchange locations to identify health risks and needs of individuals at risk for HIV and hepatitis C. Her work will help the resource center target services to identify gaps in care and testing. Watch for future stipend announcements this summer!

Other Internship Opportunities

Beyond the stipend program, NHPHA serves as an internship placement site and connects students to other sites for unpaid internships. Gretchen Swain interned with NHPHA while completing her Masters of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire Carsey School of Public Policy. Gretchen completed an environmental scan of partners working on gun violence prevention, current New Hampshire laws, and anticipated bills for the 2019 session. She also prepared testimony that was submitted for a committee hearing on guns in schools and can be utilized by NHPHA as the bill winds its way through the legislative process.

swpnhNHPHA has developed a relationship with Stay, Work, Play New Hampshire (SWP). SWP is a nonprofit that seeks to attract and retain young people in the state. Upon our request, they have recently added a “public health” tag to their search function on their internship web page. We encourage potential intern placement sites to post their internships on the SWP intern site, or we can do that for you!

NHPHA can serve as conduit between placement sites and students. We have a strong relationship with all the schools in the state that have a public health major undergraduate or graduate program. Recently we met with the City of Concord to help them craft an internship focused on housing ordinance compliance and food safety. We posted it to our listserv and shared it with our academic partners. They now have a strong candidate, and we will work together to help them find interns going forward.

The dictionary defines an intern as “a student or trainee who works, sometimes without pay, at a trade or occupation in order to gain work experience.” While this is an accurate definition, we think it to be a bit anemic. We believe that public health internships can serve to provide students with a real-life public health experience that can fuel their passion for the field and help provide some clarity for their future path. From a placement site perspective, our interns have completed meaningful projects that were immediately beneficial and of great value to our mission. 

Please contact us if we can be of assistance in any way to help you create an internship, publicize it, find a student, or find a placement for a student. Our interns are our future!

rss2 buttons 13

Blog Archives