Community Health Engagement
Occidental College students who are interested in public health can participate in semester long and summer internships at multiple community health organizations.
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The UEP 307 internships are designed to provide students with real-world experiences to develop new skills and enhance insights into myriad community health issues, concerns and solutions. The planning and implementation of the Community Health Engagement program is funded by Kaiser Permanente Southern California Community Benefit.
- The semester long internships are offered through UEP 307 Public Health Practicum. As internship hours and days vary for each location, interested students should contact the course instructor to verify hours before registering for the class to avoid any scheduling conflicts.
- Information on summer public health internships can be found under Jobs & Internships.
Community health partners include:
Interns at the Cancer Legal Resource Center staff the CLRC’s national, toll-free hotline where callers (cancer patients, caregivers, advocates etc.) call with cancer-related legal questions and receive free, confidential information about relevant laws and resources for their particular situation. Interns conduct intake by phone and return calls with appropriate resources after cases have been research by CLRC attorneys. Interns also have the opportunity to conduct research to update CLRC resources and handouts, as well as attend hearings and community events but most of the internship is based at the CLRC office. This site is appropriate for students who want to be introduced to health law and policy issues without a lot of in-person client contact.
Interns work with ChapCare clinic patients to research and link them with non-medical health resources, such as housing, nutrition and employment, as these needs are determined and requested by ChapCare clinicians. This site is appropriate for students who are interested in understanding the social determinants of health by helping clinicians and patients to research, identify and link with necessary health and social service resources. ChapCare interns must be problem solvers and have the initiative to organize, coordinate and engage directly with community members. Students at ChapCare will be interning alongside a community health worker (promotora) from Esperanza Community Housing Corporation.
Interns at Foothill Unity Center will support the Center’s health and food distribution programs. Interns lead the Center’s walking club to build a rapport with clients and help with food distribution. During Wednesday clinics, interns will partner with clients to help research and locate health & social service resources. Interns also have the opportunity to attend community meetings and events to learn more about the various health and social service programs, issues and resources in the Center’s service area. In the Fall semester all interns will support the planning, implementation and follow-up of the Center’s November Mobile Dental program (for children) facilitated in close partnership with the USC (University of Southern California) School of Dentistry. This site is appropriate for students who are interested in hands-on learning about non-profit, multi-service community health organizations, and the many roles that they play to meet the diverse needs that affect the health and well-being in under-resourced communities. Foothill Unity Center interns must be flexible and be willing to be a part of all projects, big and small.
Interns partner one-on-one with patients who are enrolled in MEND’s diabetic health education course to clarify course material, support healthy lifestyle and disease management goals, as well as help to locate necessary resources such as mental health counseling and vision exams. Interns also help to develop workshops, education and resource materials on pertinent health topics such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and women’s health. Workshop participants are then linked with local, low-cost screening resources. This site is appropriate for students who are interested in the various factors that affect health especially among low-income, Latino immigrants. MEND interns must be bilingual Spanish/English, and have the initiative to organize, coordinate and engage directly with community members. Students at MEND will be interning alongside a community health worker (promotora) from Esperanza Community Housing Corporation.
"Water Works: Drinking Water Project" with Healthy School Food Coalition
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the last three decades; it is a clear and urgent public health issue. There have been myriad popular solutions that have been proposed or implemented such as menu labeling, healthy corner store conversions, removal of sugar sweetened beverages from school campuses, and more recently attempts to impose taxes on sugary drinks. The Water Works: Drinking Water Project operates on the simple premise that clean, healthy and free drinking water should be accessible to everyone, especially at places where children and families live, learn and play. Ubiquitous access to, and visibility of public water sources can promote increased consumption as the healthiest (and most equitable) alternative to sugar sweetened beverages.
Interns will work with the HSFC staff to conduct an environmental assessment of city parks & libraries in Northeast, Central and South Los Angeles, to assess and document the availability and condition of public water fountains. Interns will also help to plan for, and facilitate focus groups to understand community perceptions of public drinking water, as well as conduct research of public drinking water policies in other cities. Findings will be shared with ArtsM 242 Projects in Documentary students for the production of short community-engaged documentaries. Findings will also be shared with County of Los Angeles' Department of Public Health, Department of Water and Power, with funders and other health leaders advocating for access to safe, free and palatable public water. This site is appropriate for students who are interested in the built environment and its impact on public health. The internship will include elements of research, data collection, health education and health communication. Students must have the initiative to organize, coordinate and engage directly with community members, and be willing to travel.
Two community health workers (promotores) trained by Esperanza’s Health Programs will participate in class and intern alongside Oxy students at two of the internship organizations (sites can change). This collaboration with Esperanza offers a unique opportunity for students to learn about the community health worker model, as an important and effective way to promote culturally and linguistically appropriate health education and prevention in underserved communities. Equally as important, this partnership introduces to, and shares the Occidental College campus, with our community partners.
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