Community Health Engagement

Occidental College students who are interested in public health can participate in semester long community based learning opportunities to acquire valuable field experience and learn core public health skills including communication, cultural humility, problem solving, initiation and teamwork.

What is Public Health?



For more information about Oxy's public health program, please visit the Public Health minor website.

The planning and implementation of the Community Health Engagement program is funded by Kaiser Permanente Southern California Community Benefit. One product of CHE is the development of the UEP 307 Public Health Practicum class which was jointly designed with community partners to meet relevant community health needs while providing students with real-world experiences that develop new insights and skills.

  • UEP 307 Public Health Practicum combines class lectures and discussion, reflection and service to introduce students to myriad community health issues, concerns and solutions.
  • The practicum is offered in the Fall & Spring, and also as the Summer Public Health Internship. As practicum hours and days vary for each partner location, interested students should carefully review the organizational information below, and contact the course instructor to verify hours before registering for the class to avoid any scheduling conflicts.
  • Students enrolled in the practicum spend two 4-hour blocks (8 hours/week) in the field in addition to class meetings.
  • Information on the full-time Summer Public Health Internships can be found under Jobs & Internships.


Community health partners include:

Bet Tzedek Medical-Legal Partnership

Bet Tzedek sets the standard for innovation in public interest law and is one of the top legal agencies in the country providing both direct services and impact litigation assistance to Los Angeles’ most vulnerable populations. Bet Tzedek’s pioneering projects combine direct legal representation with powerful outreach, education, and legislative advocacy.  Through Bet Tzedek’s Medical-Legal Partnerships, advocates use legal and policy tools to address social determinants of health. Addressing individuals’ health-harming legal needs has been proven to positively impact individual and public health.  Under the supervision of an attorney, interns at Bet Tzedek will have the opportunity to engage in a variety of projects and develop an array of skills used to address public health through the law. Depending on the students’ schedules, there are two projects that can be supported at Bet Tzedek.

In partnership with the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Transgender Health Program, Bet Tzedek provides legal assistance to transgender and gender nonconforming individuals in Southern California. Specifically, Bet Tzedek fights harassment and discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations; appeals insurance coverage denials for medically-necessary care; and prepares petitions for legal name and gender marker changes. In partnership with the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Bet Tzedek provides legal resources to low-income patients. Bet Tzedek interns must be problem solvers and have the initiative to organize, coordinate and engage directly with community members.

Practicum hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday from 9am to 1pm or 1pm to 5pm (pick two days) The Transgender MLP clinic takes place on Tuesdays.

Every Woman Counts (EWC) Los Angeles County
Every Woman Counts (EWC) provides free clinical breast exams, mammograms, pelvic exams, and Pap tests to California’s underserved women. The mission of the EWC is to save lives by preventing and reducing the devastating effects of cancer for Californians through education, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, and inte​grated preventive services, with special emphasis on the underserved.  Interns will work EWC-LA’s outreach & education component to help identify hard-to-reach, rarely/never screened women; schedule & conduct tailored health education sessions; follow up with those women who are educated (in classes or at events) to ensure a smooth transition into screening; and provide outreach at community health events. This partner is appropriate for interns who are interested in understanding the systemic and cultural barriers in women’s health, and want to play an active role in improving health education and awareness, as well as promote access to early detection, diagnosis and treatment. EWC-LA interns will work throughout Los Angeles County with the Program Director and community health workers.

Practicum hours: Education & outreach events are scheduled as they are requested by organizations. Hours can vary so consider this site if you have a flexible class schedule with at least 3 hours between classes. It is also important to have your own transportation as EWC serves a vast geographic area (Los Angeles County).

Foothill Unity Center

Foothill Unity Center is a Community Action Agency (CAA) in Monrovia and Pasadena, California. Interns will support the Center’s food, social service and health programs.  Interns lead the Center’s walking/fitness group to build a rapport with clients; help with food distribution and healthy recipe development; and support the intake process for new and renewing families. 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.  Every year Foothill Unity Center has marquee community events such as Back-to-School, Mobile Dental Clinic, Thanksgiving and Holiday programs that interns play a role in from registration to day-of event support. This site is appropriate for interns 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.

Practicum hours: Pasadena location Tuesday 9am to 11:30am, Wednesday and Friday from 1pm to 3:30pm OR Monrovia location Monday 1pm to 3:30pm, Wednesday and Friday from 9am to 11:30am.

Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC)

The CLRC provides information and education about cancer-related issues to the public through its national telephone assistance line. The CLRC also conducts national education and outreach programs for community groups, employers and health care professionals and is actively involved in community activities to raise public awareness of cancer-related legal and public policy issues. The intern will support the CLRC's national telephone assistance line, perform online research, prepare materials for outreach events, maintain the CLRC's contact database, and assist with the CLRC's online marketing efforts as needed. The CLRC intern should have strong interpersonal skills, written and oral communication skills, and have experience with online research. This site is appropriate for interns who are genuinely interested in learning about cancer-related legal issues and/or non-profit management and development.

Practicum hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday from 9am to 1pm or 1pm to 5pm (pick two days).

MEND (Meet Each Need with Dignity) Clinic

MEND is a poverty relief organization in Pacoima, California. 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 interns 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. Interns at MEND will be interning alongside a community health worker (promotora) from Esperanza Community Housing Corporation.

Practicum hours: Anytime between 8am to 5pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, and five Saturdays from 8am to 12pm to support the Diabetes 101 classes. Weekday hours must be completed in 4-hour blocks. MEND is closed on Mondays.

Recycled Resources for the Homeless

The Recycled Resources for the Homeless is a small nonprofit organization based in Highland Park. It is staffed entirely by volunteers and operates on a zero percent profit margin. Recycled Resources was formed in 2008 in order to provide a safety net and basic necessities to all people experiencing homelessness in the Northeast Los Angeles community. Its main outreach areas are Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Cypress Park, Glassell Park, Montecito Heights, and the areas along the Arroyo Seco River. Recycled Resources’ goal is to outreach and engage people experiencing homelessness, create trusting and supportive relationships through our outreaches, and provide basic necessities as there is no homeless service provider in the NELA community. In addition to providing food, clothing, hygiene, etc., it also offers case management services in order to link people to services and support/advocate for them as they navigate these services. This site is appropriate for interns who are interested in hands-on learning about the related issues of housing, health and mental health access, and gentrification. Interns will help to complete surveys to help identify specific housing needs of individuals and assist in the completion of the Northeast Los Angeles resource guide. This site is appropriate for interns who want to work on public health issues in their local community and interns who are not shy about engaging others in communication.

Practicum hours: Monday and/or Wednesday evenings from 6 pm to 10 pm, and the occassional Friday and Saturday mornings until 1 pm.