Enhancing Workforce Pathways: Insights From a Paid Internship Pilot Program Linking Public Health Students and Local Health Departments

Harshada Karnik, Kari Oldfield-Tabbert, Rachel Schulman, Bonnie Brueshoff, Chelsey Kirkland, Jason Orr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The persistent understaffing of the governmental public health workforce has led to program cutbacks, staff burnout at local health departments (LHDs), and an urgent need to replenish staffing. To build recruitment pathways into LHDs and build their workforce capacity, we introduced a paid internship initiative connecting Master’s in Public Health students from a Midwestern university with LHDs in the state. This article presents the pilot program developed and the insights gained from it. Program participants included nine LHDs that hosted 10 students for 12-week internships. Internship projects were developed by LHDs with support from the state’s association of county and city health officials. All students completed their internship projects satisfactorily. The experience highlighted that while students contributed to LHDs through short-term projects, with sustained backing and minor adjustments, this model can serve to reinforce the governmental public health sector’s existing and future capacity in the long term.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Promotion Practice
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Society for Public Health Education.

Keywords

  • local health departments
  • placement program
  • program evaluation
  • public health workforce
  • recruitment pathways

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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