Fielding Internship Support

Fielding Internship Information

The Department of Public Health is pleased to announce financial support for a Summer 2022 student internship through the Jonathan and Karin Fielding Internship fund.  This fund will be offering a stipend for a student to do an internship (remote or in-person) in Departments of Public Health at the state or local level in Summer 2022.  The financial support provided will be $4600 for an 8-10 week, full-time internship. Supplemental funding may be available for transportation to the city, and/or to assist with summer contributions required for financial aid. The internship support is available to current first-year students, sophomores, or juniors, including those taking a leave of absence from the College, and is not restricted to Public Health concentrators.  The first application deadline is April 10th and applications will be considered on a rolling basis between April 10th and May 31st or until funds are allocated. Please apply using the Google form here.

How to apply:

  1. Explore the internship opportunities described below, or look into other opportunities at state and local departments.  Apply directly to those you are interested in pursuing.  For those identified below, mention the Fielding internship as a potential source of financial support in your cover letter to the organization.
  2. Attend an information session with the general Alumni-Sponsored Internship Program (ASIP).  Apply for funding from ASIP as an alternative source of funding in case you are not selected for the Fielding internship support.   The next ASIP deadline is April 25.
  3. Please submit the following application materials via this Google form. You will be asked
    • Why you are interested in working in a department of public health (1-2 paragraphs)
    • To which internship sites have you applied and where things stand in the application process.  For each internship, please indicate any supplemental financial support beyond the basic $4600 needed to travel and/or to meet summer financial aid student contribution obligations
    • If you have identified other internships at state and local Public Health departments but not yet applied, briefly describe them and include a URL linking to the internship website.
    • Indicate whether you applied/plan to apply for the first or second round of ASIP funding.
    • Resume (PDF form)
    • Transcript from Peoplesoft (PDF form)

Examples of internships potentially supported by the Fielding Internship funding:

Baltimore City Public Health Department.  Applications are rolling.  You may send your application materials to [email protected] at any time.  Mention the Fielding internship in your cover letter.  Note: One Williams student interned here in 2018 with Fielding funding.

New York City HRTP Internship Program.  Applications are due February 15th.  Note that letters of recommendation are required and an official transcript is required, so allot extra time.  Mention the Fielding internship in your personal statement.

San Francisco Department of Public Health.  Applications are rolling.  Mention the Fielding internship in your cover letter.  They are looking to host students interested in careers in primary care or healthcare administration and population health.  They are also looking to place students who come from economically disadvantaged or historically marginalized communities.

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.  Two students interned here in 2018 with Fielding funding. For these opportunities, you should describe yourself as a ‘volunteer’ rather than ‘intern’ because they define interns as those receiving course credit.

Or find your own.  Students are encouraged to explore opportunities in their hometowns or other locations.  Please note that the internship support is available only to those working in state or local government health departments within the United States.  The internship is not intended to fund work at non-governmental public health organizations. The internship should be 8-10 weeks, should be full time, and should involve substantive engagement on public health issues.  Please submit applications to the internship directly before applying for Fielding funding, and include information about the internship in your application Fielding for support.

 

2022 Fielding Intern:

Ruby:

This summer, I had the opportunity to work as a Research Analyst and Community Interviewer at the Multnomah County Health Department, a position I was directed towards by Dr. Timothy Menza, the Medical Director at the Oregon Health Authority and Williams alum. I was working on the local chapter, called Chime In, of the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) project, an annual project funded by the CDC that collects information on populations at risk for HIV. This annual cycle focused on interviewing and testing people who inject drugs, which is a very visible population in the city of Portland. The fieldwork consisted of conducting an hour long interview with a research participant out of an in-community mobile unit. The interview involved asking about a variety of topics including injection drug use and practices, non-injection drug use and practices, sexual practices, houselessness, income, health insurance, and access to health services. If the participant consented, I would then administer a rapid HIV and/or hepatitis C test and provide counseling on HIV and hepatitis prevention strategies and treatment options if relevant. While we ourselves did not administer clinical services, we would provide referrals for any social and medical services, condoms, portable sharps containers, and resource handbooks. The participants were each provided a cash incentive for participating in the project.

When I arrived in early June, I first underwent a week of training with the other research analysts pertaining to HIPPA and patient confidentiality, risk management and conflict de-escalation, and education on drug injection practices and HIV and hepatitis treatment and prevention. We were also trained on administering HIV and hepatitis C tests and pre- and post-test counseling, which would make up the bulk of our work in the field. Because the project was funded by the CDC, the first few weeks I was witness to the reality of publicly funded projects: national protocols had to be edited by our team, given the specificities of Portland that might require different sensitivities. These were then sent to be reviewed by the national board, approved or revised, and then sent back to us to be then implemented. While this meant less time out in the field conductive interviews, I also had the chance to be a part of all of the preparatory work that goes into getting field-based research off the ground. I really enjoyed the varied nature of the work: while we spent time discussing the ethics of research questions and data collection, we were also assessing the efficiency of our data transfer protocols, scouting out in-community locations for our mobile van, practicing patient care and compassionate research practices, and working on the skill of safely administering tests.

Aside from providing the opportunity to experience field work, this summer also was an opportunity for immense personal growth as well: I drove across the country alone from New York to Portland and lived in an apartment in Portland, cooking for myself and biking to and from work. The generosity of the Fielding Internship fund helped make this possible, providing me with the financial independence and confidence to take on the challenge of moving across the country alone to see a new city, try out work different from anything I had done before, and prepare myself for life after graduation. The opportunity to play a substantial role in such a close-knit and intimate team and project allowed me to contextualize and put into practice so many of the Public Health ethical and social concepts I have spent so much time thinking about in my courses at Williams. Moreover, I realized that I find the kind of human contact involved in the interview and counseling process so rewarding. That kind of work reoriented my senior thesis writing for my Comparative Literature thesis, centering it on narratives of trauma and how they interact with structures of power. Additionally, as I look towards post-graduate opportunities, I am finding myself drawn to paths grounded in this kind of patient/client contact, as well as fields related to psychiatry and social support and services.

2021 Fielding Interns:

Kate:

My projects were very interesting and covered a range of topics from ones that I very much think of as part of public health, like preventing mosquito and tick borne diseases, to things like water safety and the flavored tobacco ban in Massachusetts. I enjoyed the chance to look at the actual legislature for Massachusetts, whether that was with regards to mold in homes, lead paint in homes, septic systems, food inspections, or tobacco control. Most of the work I did has ended up on the website for the Health Division of the Town of Andover, and I designed a few posters and social media posts as well.

All in all, I enjoyed my experience very much. It was great to see how much of a group project keeping the Town of Andover healthy really is, and I liked the people I worked with very much. Right now, I am trying to figure out what I am doing after I graduate in the spring (a deadline that is fast approaching if I want to apply to graduate schools this year), and I would consider working for a local public health department if I don’t end up going to graduate school immediately after I graduate from Williams. My experience was great, the people were wonderful, and I learned so much about the more nitty gritty details of keeping the town healthy and safe.

Grace:

Because of the Fielding Internship, I had the wonderful opportunity to work with the Berkshire Public Health Alliance (through the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission) and the Berkshire Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative (BOAPC) this summer. My work with these organizations was multifaceted and provided me with the opportunity to observe and participate in a wide-range of public health initiatives currently happening in Berkshire County.

I began the summer heavily involved in the planning and beginning stages of the Berkshire County Community Health Improvement Program (CHIP), an initiative funded by a grant recently awarded to the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission to address poor health outcomes in the county, most notably, the highest rate of “premature deaths” in the state of Massachusetts. I attended CHIP meetings, analyzed recent survey data, and ultimately put together a presentation for the CHIP committee on recent county-wide survey results pertaining to residents’ opinions on the biggest assets and challenges within Berkshire County. This survey served as a “starting point” for the CHIP’s work within the county, and the data is now being used to direct funds and prioritize certain initiatives within the CHIP based on community needs.  For the rest of the summer, I analyzed opioid and drug-related mortality data from two major datasets: state-wide death records and records obtained by the Berkshire County House of Corrections (BCHOC) office, the latter of which contains all deaths (some without cause indicated) from previously incarcerated individuals within the years 2014-2020. Using both these datasets, as well as other overdose-related statistics obtained from BOAPC, I compiled a presentation for the BCHOC staff on the burden of opioid-related deaths within the previously incarcerated population, and I present my findings to the BCHOC staff.  My work this summer has truly furthered my interest in conducting more public health-related research on topics related to addiction and mental illness. It was also a wonderful experience to be able to work with individuals across a broad range of public disciplines, including those at the BCHOC, as well as various community stakeholders involved in the CHIP program.

Vanessa:

This summer I had the chance to collaborate with the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission’s (BRPC) Public Health department in an independent research project through the support of the Jonathan and Karin Fielding Internship fund. BRPC is the official Berkshire-wide
planning agency that provides expertise to guide initiatives and policy regarding environmental management, economic growth, and public health, among others. As the focal point for the evaluation of municipal concerns and needs, BRPC facilitates the development of collaborative
solutions involving a range of stakeholders and local actors.  In helping develop and implement the Community Health Implementation Plan (CHIP) in the Berkshires, I had the chance to collaborate with several local public health actors in researching legislation changes, local sentiment regarding public health amenities in the aftermath of COVID-19, and other impending changes that affect the context of community health systems. I leveraged the Vital Records and Statistics from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health over 2015-2020 to develop to long-run perspective on the trends in major causes of premature deaths. Berkshire County has one of the highest rates of premature deaths, ranking last in Massachusetts in this regard; in light of this growing trend, it becomes critical to have data on the precise demographic groups and causes of death that are driving this concerning reality. From this data, I investigated the demographic correlates and determinants of premature deaths, as well as codified the available data into a more functional format for future research efforts.

This internship has allowed me the unique opportunity to exert a new level of independence in data analysis as well as allow the chance to ground my empirical work in local policy research alongside key community players, expanding on the purely academic nature of
my other internships. This internship allowed me to materially engage in the vast scope of considerations at the intersection of my academic interests needed to understand well-being holistically; this experience impressed upon me how the health risks of individuals are not
isolated, but rather a reflection of extraneous policy and the circumstances they face. This summer has helped me develop a realistic appreciation of the crucial role of research in enabling health-related policy and inform my decisions for after college, whether it be medical school,
graduate school in economics, or work in a public health-related field.

2019 Fielding Intern:

Andrea:

Last summer, I had the opportunity to intern with the Pima County Health Department (PCHD) under their Chronic Disease Prevention Program in
Tucson, Arizona. I was able to work alongside field experts on designing and implementing the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s Air
Quality Flagging Program at schools across Pima County. I worked closely with both department leaders and community members. My responsibilities
included assisting in program design, investigating which schools would benefit the most from the program, communicating with schools to encourage
them to join, delivering program training to faculty and staff, expanding a system to track participating schools and contacts, and developing program
evaluation methods. In addition, I was also responsible for designing the program training workshop and translating it to Spanish. The most rewarding
part of the experience was actively working towards alleviating the barrier in access that the Spanish-speaking community has to the department’s
preventative resources, such as the flag program. My mentors at PCHD constantly challenged and supported me. I would recommend the experience
to anyone seeking to better understand the needs of communities and to learn to implement public health projects at the community level.

 

2018 Fielding Interns:

Terricka: 

Last summer, I worked at the Baltimore City Health Department in the fiscal department as a finance and administration intern. My primary tasks were to archive the department’s paper documents as well as make them digital. I was also responsible for supervising/ leading the high school students placed in the department by the city’s YouthWorks program and collecting audit reports from those programs receiving funding from the BCHD.  Any student looking to gain office experience, enhance their leadership skills, and looking to learn more about how health departments operate behind the scenes would definitely benefit from interning at this office. The staff were also super helpful and continue to mentor me today, so if you’re interested in going into finance (in any aspect), but especially in the public health field, working in the fiscal department and making connections with the accountants and directors is very useful. My supervisors were also really flexible and more than willing to put me in touch with staff from other areas of the health department that I was interested in such as the maternal health and environmental health offices, so while the internship was mostly finance, you are able to explore other areas if you decide to intern at the Baltimore City Health Department.

 

Patricia: 

I interned with the Veterinary Public Health of the Communicable Disease Control and Prevention Division of the Los Angeles Department of Public Health. Very few places in the United States have similarly established programs, so this experience was unique! I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to be extremely engaged in an epidemiology project, being on-foot tracked the spread of a disease in the Greater Los Angeles area and directly working with the field data to present to county and government stakeholders. While I worked in a fast-paced environment, it is important to realize this will not always be the case; county public health work can be slow since projects like these arise only when necessary. I would recommend similar experience to any student who is open-minding and interested in gauging the breadth of public health. You learn the most from situations you are unfamiliar with!

 

Jacob: 

This summer I had the pleasure of working at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Tuberculosis Control Program. It was a wonderful experience dipping my toes into local health. LA is one of the largest health departments in the US and with it came particular strengths and difficulties in managing infectious diseases. The program was relatively small which allowed me to become intricately involved in the programs workings. My day to day work involved analyzing and reviewing clinical data, altering and developing a database for the storage of homeless data and taking part in meetings with leaders in the local health field. I would recommend the LA DPH for students interested in local health departments and public health in urban environments.