IV. Health Policy Reference Desk >> D. Health Policy Careers >> Internships (last updated 4.16.16)
- 1 Internships: Federal Agencies
- 2 Internships Related to Congress
- 3 Internships in Policy Research Organizations
- 4 Minority Internships
Internships: Federal Agencies
Student Educational Employment Program. Most Federal agencies use this program. Some develop additional student, intern, or fellowship programs to meet their specific business needs. The Program has two components; student temporary employment (ranging from summer jobs to positions that can last for as long as you are a student) and student career experience (work experience directly related to your academic field of study which provides formal periods of work and study while you are attending school). The Program is available to all levels of students: high school, vocational and technical, associate degree, baccalaureate degree, graduate degree, and professional degree students.
Mount Saint Mary’s University offers a one-stop portal listing more than 70 internships within the Federal Government (including some related to health policy), with opportunities available to students (high school through doctoral level) and mid-career professionals. This site provides a description of each opportunity and links to obtain further details.
Internship Opportunities Within the Federal Government (Office of Rep. Melvin Watt, D-NC). This 50+ page annual publication of internship opportunities within the federal government for undergraduate, graduate and law students was compiled by federal departments and agencies at the request of Rep. Watt and does not include every available opportunity, but it provides somewhat more detail on eligibility requirements than the CRS compilation.
Internships, Fellowships, and Other Work Experience Opportunities in the Federal Government. (Congressional Research Service). This report describes Internet resources on internships, fellowships, and work experience programs within the federal government. It is intended as a selective guide for students of all levels: high school, undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate.
Emerging Leaders Program. ELP is a competitive, two-year, paid, federal internship within DHHS. The program provides a unique opportunity to develop analytical and critical leadership skills in one of the largest federal agencies in the nation. Rotation opportunities to expand leadership competencies are available throughout the Department and across federal agencies.
There is no master listing of internship opportunities in the Office of the Secretary. Most offices, including Office of Surgeon General, list their internships through Students and Grads. A non-exhaustive listing of opportunities in offices under the OS umbrella includes:
OIG Student Diversity Volunteer Internship Program The Office of Investigations (OI) within the Office of Inspector General is responsible for conducting and coordinating investigative activities related to fraud, waste and abuse in the more than 300 HHS programs. OI investigates Medicare and Medicaid fraud, child support enforcement matters, and mismanagement by applicants, grantees, and contractors or by HHS employees in the performance of their official duties. Investigations often result in criminal, civil, or administrative action. Students may apply for an internship at any of OI’s more than 70 office locations nationwide.
HHS Departmental Appeals Board Internship/Externship Program. The DAB offers internships throughout the academic year to first-year (second semester), second year, and third-year law school students. In addition, the DAB has a robust summer internship program for law students that offer various learning opportunities and experiences beyond the great practical work skills its interns receive. Although the internship program is primarily geared towards law school students, the DAB has opportunities available for some undergraduate students who may be interested in attending law school.
The Pathways Programs at HHS. The Pathways Programs offer clear paths to Federal internships for students from high school through post-graduate school; career opportunities for recent graduates; and meaningful training and career development opportunities for individuals who are at the beginning of their Federal service. The Pathways Programs at HHS include the following three programs:
There is no master listing of internship opportunities in the DHHS. Some offices, including Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and Health Resources and Services Administration, list their internships through Students and Grads rather than on-line. A non-exhaustive listing of opportunities in offices outside the OS umbrella includes:
Administration for Community Living. AOA offers unpaid internships primarily located at their headquarters office in Washington, DC but also have potential placements available in nine regional offices which include Seattle, WA, San Francisco, CA, Denver, CO, Dallas, TX, Chicago, IL, Kansas City, MO, Atlanta, GA, New York City, NY, and Boston, MA. The internship positions are available throughout the academic year including the summer months.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta). Some departments list their internships through Students and Grads rather than on-line. A non-exhaustive listing of opportunities in offices under the CDC umbrella includes:
- Student Internships and Fellowship Programs.
Technology Transfer Office. Graduate student interns usually serve for one semester or quarter during the academic year, either on a full-time or part-time basis. Summer internships are typically full-time and range from 10 to 12 weeks. Available to 2nd year law students or MBA students.
Public Health Law Program. This program offers internships to graduate students in law, public health, and related academic fields. Interns generally serve in the offices of the Public Health Law Program in Atlanta, Georgia, although other locations may be considered.
The Minority Health offers summer internships or fellowships of varying lengths related to public health (in a variety of locations).
- Other CDC Opportunities
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. A complete listing of internship/student opportunities and their companion links are provided at the foregoing link. A non-exhaustive list of the key opportunities relating specifically to CMS include:
2016 Summer Internship Program (SIP). The 2016 CMS Summer Intern Program will be announced in early March 2016 via vacancy announcements posted to www.USAJobs.gov. This 12-week internship is designed for current students with an unweighted cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. The purpose of the Summer Intern Program is to enhance students’ knowledge about CMS programs, mission, vision and goals; and seeks to familiarize participants about Federal, State, and local health care programs.
- The traditional CMS Internship Program is announced on an as needed basis through vacancy announcements posted to www.USAJobs.gov. These opportunities are designed for students who are seeking a year-round internship while attending school. Students may be eligible for permanent employment following graduation and successful completion of the program requirements. Students must maintain an unweighted cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale for this program as well.
Food and Drug Administration. The Office of Policy offers non-paid internships for interested undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students. Past interns have had diverse educational interests, such as pharmacy, law, government, economics, and management. Our interns have worked on congressional hearings, drug importation investigations, novel disease outbreak issues, and briefings for senior agency officials. As an Office of Policy intern, you can expect to work on substantive projects, develop professional skills, and benefit from the personal attention of a mentor. All interns must:
Be at least 18 years of age on or before the first day of the internship.
Have completed at least two semesters of college education.
Be a current undergraduate or graduate student attending a U.S. college or university or have just graduated in the same year of the Internship.
National Institutes of Health. NIH offers a variety of internships in biomedical research and health disparities, including opportunities for students in high school, college or post-baccalaureate.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The SAMHSA Internship Program introduces students to the important role SAMHSA plays in ensuring a productive life in the community for everyone. Interns gain practical experience through projects, special assignments, or research that support federal, state, and community-based programs, policies, and best practices in the prevention and treatment of substance abuse and mental illness. Interns work 40 hours a week at SAMHSA’s headquarters in Rockville, MD.
White House Internship Program. White House Internships are full-time unpaid positions and participants are responsible for arranging their own transportation and housing for the duration of the program. In addition to normal office duties, interns will supplement their learning experience by attending a weekly lecture series hosted by senior White House staff, help at White House social events, and volunteer in community service projects. Applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at a college, community college, or university (2-4 year institution) or must have graduated in the past two years from undergraduate or graduate school.
Office of Management and Budget Summer Internships. The OMB summer internship program is for graduate-level students (students currently seeking a Masters degree) in public policy, public administration, business, information systems, computer science, economics, or a related field. The duration of the assignment varies depending on each student’s schedule, but most internships begin in mid to late May and end in late August. U.S. Citizenship is required. OMB does not accept applications from undergraduate students.
Internships for Members of Congress. Unfortunately, there is no master compendium of such internship opportunities. As a practical matter, House and Senate members are inundated with requests for such internships; hence, virtually all are unpaid and it is unrealistic for someone outside a member’s district or state to be considered. Those interested in exploring such opportunities therefore are best advised to find them at their member’s Website or by contacting the office directly.
Internships for Senate Committees. There is no master compendium of such internship opportunities. Internships are available for the following key committees that deal with health policy issues: Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions whose jurisdiction encompasses most of the agencies, institutes, and programs of the Department of Health and Human Services, including the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Administration on Aging, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The Committee also oversees public health and health insurance statutes to address emerging threats and changing patterns in the healthcare industry.
Internships for House Committees. There is no master compendium of such internship opportunities. Internships are available for the following key committees that deal with health policy issues:
Committee on Energy and Commerce whose Subcommittee on Health has jurisdiction over (1) public health and quarantine; hospital construction; mental health and research; biomedical programs and health protection in general, including Medicaid and national health insurance; (2) food and drugs; and, (3) drug abuse.
Committee on Education and Labor whose Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee deals with employee health benefits, retiree health benefits and whose Workforce Protections Subcommittee deals with workers compensation issues.
House Armed Services Committee whose Subcommittee on Military Personnel has responsibility for military health services;
Committee on the Budget. An internship with the House Budget Committee provides students with a unique opportunity to experience first-hand the federal legislative process by working on Capitol Hill. The Budget Committee Internship Program is an exciting and educational experience that offers broad insight into the legislative policy-making process while allowing students the chance to apply classroom learning to real Congressional work. Full and part-time positions are available throughout the year to students currently enrolled in college.
Congressional Budget Office Summer Internships. CBO offers a ten-week Summer Internship Program principally for graduate students in economics, public policy, or related fields.
Government Accountability Office Internships. GAO offers paid internships for graduate and undergraduate students; most positions are in Washington, DC office. GAO Appointments for intern positions last from 10 to 16 weeks and are normally held during summer months. To be eligible for an internship, students must be enrolled on at least a half-time basis as determined by their college or university. GAO student interns are appointed on a nonpermanent basis and may be eligible to be converted to a permanent position after completing 400 hours of service and after meeting degree requirements. These internships are open to both graduate and undergraduate students. GAO advertises for intern positions in late fall and early winter of each year.
Library of Congress Internships. LOC has various policy research divisions with internship opportunities that can be looked up selecting the policy analysis category.
Alliance for Health Reform. The Alliance (Washington, DC) seeks paid and unpaid interns focusing on health policy research and media relations. Interns at the Alliance serve as front-line troops for our media outreach and educational efforts. Interns have a variety of responsibilities including: research, health policy analysis, media list compilation, administrative duties, and web page updates. Interns attend events and forums on Capitol Hill and in the D.C. area. The Alliance seeks undergraduate or graduate students with solid academic records, strong writing, research, and communication skills–and a lively interest in public policy. Knowledge of word processing and database software is important. Pluses: community service; coursework in history, political science, economics, journalism, or mass communications. The duration of the internship is negotiable, but for the best experience, interns should stay for a minimum period of one quarter. A small stipend may be available, and academic credit can be arranged.
American Enterprise Institute. Washington, DC internship opportunities are available to undergraduates, graduate students, and postgraduates. Approximately fifty internship opportunities are available in the fall, winter, and summer in the areas of: economic policy, foreign and defense studies, social and political studies, media affairs, The American magazine, publications editing, information systems, marketing, and human resources. Internships are unpaid, and the hours and days are flexible, either part or full time.
American Public Health Association. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for unpaid APHA internships in a variety of departments located in Washington, DC. Candidates should be working towards a bachelor, graduate, or postgraduate degree, and all majors are welcome.
Brookings Institution Unpaid internships are available to undergraduate and graduate students in both research and non-research programs located in Washington, DC, with specific eligibility requirements and internship timing/duration varying by program.
CATO Institute Internships. Cato internships (which are paid and, with rare exceptions, full-time) are available in Washington, DC during summer, fall and spring semesters for undergraduates, regardless of major, recent graduates, graduate students, or law students who have a strong commitment to individual liberty, private property, free markets, limited government, and the philosophy of classical, or market, liberalism. Cato interns assist policy staff as researchers; work with the conference department to organize policy conferences, debates, and forums; attend seminars and conferences; and assist Cato’s professional staff by copying and filing newspaper articles, distributing materials to congressional offices, and preparing mailings. In addition to their research and other duties, interns take part in regular seminars on politics, economics, law, and philosophy, as well as a series of lectures and films on libertarian themes.
Center for National Policy. CNP (Washington, DC) offers full-time and part-time unpaid internships in winter, spring, summer and fall for talented undergraduate students and recent graduates, typically for the duration of a semester. Interns work directly with CNP staff and are exposed to the workings of the Washington policy process. General responsibilities include attending Hill briefings, attending speaking events, giving weekly oral presentations on various research topics to interns and staff, and writing a 15-20 page research paper.
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (summer/fall/spring; graduate/undergraduate; paid; CNBPP (Washington, DC) offers undergraduate and graduate students (including law), as well as recent graduates, full-and part-time paid internships in various areas, including health policy. Internships are available for the fall, spring, and summer semesters. However, not all positions are available every semester. The typical length of an internship is one semester (approximately 10-12 weeks).
Children’s Defense Fund. About 70 undergraduate, graduate and recent graduates intern in the CDF Washington, D.C. office each year and while a few of the internships give preference to certain majors everyone with a strong interest in child advocacy is encouraged to apply. CDF interns gain knowledge, skills, and experience for a lifetime commitment as a child advocate and public policy leader. They also get an insider’s view of non-profit advocacy. Among CDF’s current priorities is The Health Coverage for All Children Campaign to secure comprehensive health and mental health coverage for every child and pregnant woman.
Competitive Enterprise Institute Internships. The CEI is a non-profit public policy organization dedicated to advancing the principles of free enterprise and limited government. CEI is nationally recognized as a leading voice on a broad range of regulatory issues-including free market approaches to risk regulation (e.g., biotechnology, pharmaceutical regulation, consumer protection, food safety). CEI internships in Washington, DC are offered to undergraduates, graduate students and recent graduates with a commitment to individual liberty and free markets; interns receive a modest stipend to cover living expenses. Interns at CEI write about public policy issues, assist senior analysts with in-depth research, and promote the Institute’s mission through outreach. All interns will be assigned to a department within CEI, such as Energy Policy, Communications, or Technology Studies. However, CEI interns may work across a variety of issue areas. Interns may be asked to provide assistance with office administrative tasks on a limited basis.
Families USA Families USA is a national nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans. Paid, full-time internships are available in the Department of Health Policy (Washington, DC) in summer, fall and spring semesters. Strong research, writing, and computer skills are essential. Knowledge of health care policy a plus. The organization seeks interns who can demonstrate a commitment to low-income people’s issues. Interns at Families USA are considered part of the staff and attend weekly staff meetings and internal team meetings to discuss Families USA’s advocacy strategy and new initiatives to ensure health care access to all U.S. residents. In addition, Families USA encourages interns to take part in the active political community of Washington, D.C., by attending hearings on Capitol Hill, press conferences at the National Press Club, and policy forums at other major organizations and think tanks such as the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Center for American Progress.
Heritage Foundation. This internship program attracts undergraduate conservative leaders of the highest caliber. Paid internships in Washington, DC are available to work with Heritage experts in such areas as health policy; interns acquire policy expertise, build marketable skills, enhance their resumes, attend events where they can meet and talk with the nation’s leading policy-makers, and make friends with their conservative peers.
National Center for Policy Analysis. The NCPA is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to seek private-sector, free-market solutions to public policy problems, including health care. NCPA internships are available during the fall, summer and spring for undergraduate and graduate students; though post-graduates are also encouraged to apply. Internship positions are located in NCPA’s Dallas headquarters. Positions for the spring and fall are typically 20 to 40 hours per week, and summer positions are typically 40 hours per week.
National Health Law Program (first year law students; unpaid; Chapel Hill, NC, Los Angeles, CA, Washington, DC) The National Health Law Program offers year-round unpaid internships in its Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Chapel Hill, North Carolina offices. Applicants should have completed their first year of law school and have an interest in quality of care and health care access for low-income populations.
Public Citizen, Health Research Group. The HRG welcomes inquiries about medical doctors or MPH students doing a residency rotation, fellowship or sabbatical with HRG in Washington, DC. Preferable clinical background is internal medicine or family practice. Some clinical, epidemiological or laboratory research experience is required since an integral part of our work involves evaluating the adequacy and findings of studies to determine whether changes in public policy should be sought. Salary: Depending on experience. Full benefits including fully paid health insurance.
RAND Graduate Student Summer Associate Program. This program introduces outstanding graduate students to RAND, an institution that conducts research on health policy among other issues. Students receive a stipend and are given the opportunity to conduct research that can be completed during the three months they are at RAND. The program runs in the summer months only. Summer associates work at RAND fulltime for a 12-week period. Positions are available in RAND’s three major U.S. offices — Santa Monica, Arlington, and Pittsburgh. All summer associates are collocated with project mentors. The location of the project mentor determines the location of the summer associate. The program is designed for full-time students who have completed at least two years of graduate work leading to a doctorate or professional degree (e.g., law or medical degree, professional engineer certificate). Students must be enrolled full-time in a graduate degree program to be considered for the program.
HACU National Internship Program (HNIP). This program sponsored by the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities is the largest Hispanic internship program in the nation. It recruits college students for paid summer and semester-long internships at federal agencies and private corporations in Washington, D.C. , and throughout the country (e.g., American Heart Association, PriceWaterhouseCoopers). These ten and fifteen-week internship programs give college students direct experience in a myriad of careers in the federal and corporate sectors. HNIP staff work with HSI’s, federal agencies and corporations to recruit well-qualified and motivated students. Participating agencies and corporations hope to increase diversity in their work force by providing internship opportunities to high-achieving Hispanic students.
NAFEO Internships. The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education offers internship assignments government agencies for students enrolled in historically and predominantly black colleges and universities.
Washington Internships for Native Students. The WINS program offers students of sovereign American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian (AI/AN/NH) nations the opportunity to build leadership skills while living, studying, and interning in Washington, DC. WINS offers qualified students full scholarships funded by American University and sponsoring organizations. Participating students gain professional work experience through interning at a federal agency or private firm, take courses focusing on Native American public policy concerns, and enjoy engaging social and cultural extra-curricular activities.