Health Policy & Planning Internships

photo of bike and pedestrian signThe Health Policy & Planning (HPP) Internship Program is designed to provide work opportunities and practical learning experiences in public health, policy, planning and research, with an emphasis in health equity and place-based primary prevention.

HPP Framework: Primary Prevention & Health Equity

There is a growing recognition that where we live, work, play and go to school shape our health. HPP focuses on building healthy, equitable communities that prevent people from getting sick in the first place. HPP works to ensure all people have the opportunity for health and wellbeing and seeks to build health equity by addressing the root causes of poor health, such as the social, economic, and physical conditions around us. To achieve this goal, HPP employs expertise in policy, planning, research, equity, epidemiology, communications, and advocacy. HPP has a particular focus on supporting populations with higher rates of preventable health issues and in places with the fewest opportunities for health. HPP is currently focused on four areas of work: 1) Stable and affordable housing: protects health and provides the ability to engage in healthy opportunities, 2) Complete neighborhoods: make it easy for residents to be healthy every day in their own communities, 3) High quality education: creates pathways to better health, and 4) Strong local economy: builds household financial security for all.

Focus of Internship Projects

The San Mateo County Health System is seeking two (2) graduate-level student interns, a Healthy Communities Assessment Intern and an Epidemiology Intern, to join the HPP team, a program within the Public Health, Policy and Planning Division. HPP is looking for students who are highly motivated, hardworking, team players, responsible, and creative. HPP is a fast-paced environment where organizational skills and self-motivation are critical. Below are the projects we are recruiting interns to work on through the Summer 2016.

1. Intern Project Overview: Healthy Communities Policy Assessment
The focus of the internship project will be to conduct an assessment of policies, goals and strategies adopted by cities in San Mateo County to create healthy, equitable communities. The goal of this assessment is to develop a baseline understanding of healthy community policies and strategies adopted and implemented by various cities in San Mateo County and identify gaps and recommend action steps for cities to consider promoting health-improving environments. The Healthy Communities Assessment Intern will help HPP measure the extent to which cities are utilizing policies and strategies to create healthy, equitable, communities in San Mateo County.

Specific responsibilities expected of the intern include:
• Conduct an assessment of active transportation plans, policies and strategies adopted by 3-5 cities in San Mateo County using the Safety and Active Transportation (S.A.T) Policy Assessment Tool developed by the HPP Team.
• Analyze the data collected and develop tailored 2-4 page S.A.T. Assessment Policy Briefs that include findings and recommendations to share with local jurisdictions.
• Explore and research 1-2 modules to add to the S.A.T. Assessment to expand the scope of the assessment beyond just active transportation. 

To learn more or apply for the Healthy Communities Assessment Intern position, please click here.


2. Intern Project Overview: Sociodemographic and Health Impact Analysis
The goal of this project is to understand how the population in San Mateo County has been changing with regards to sociodemographic characteristics and how these trends have impacted health overall. The epidemiology intern will explore multiple data sources, analyze the datasets, and present findings through maps, charts, and tables. The findings of the project will be used to inform San Mateo County Health System’s activities to improve the health status of county residents. 

Specific responsibilities expected of the intern include:
• Conducting literature and internet searches
• Compiling existing data from secondary sources
• Cleaning and analyzing data, both spatial and non-spatial, using Excel, ArcGIS, and/or statistical software
• Developing maps, charts, tables, and other data visualization graphics

To learn more or apply for the Epidemiology Intern position, please click here.



  • Current students in graduate school and recent graduates (Master's degree or higher) — up to one year after graduation date — are eligible to apply. You may not be a current San Mateo County employee.
  • Successful applicants will demonstrate one or more of the following:
    • You, or a member of your family, have been adversely affected by health inequities related to any of the following:
      a) systemic failures of the social, physical or economic environment
      b) live or grew up in a low-income neighborhood
      c) are the first in your family to attend higher education, or
      d) have experienced discrimination due to race, ethnicity or other social or economic situations.
    • Have a deep passion for addressing health inequities, and have experience working in programs that promote equity. This can be through a multitude of intervention types and variety of locations or organizations.

Internship Term & Pay

The HPP Summer Internship is from June through August.  Reasonable timeframe adjustments can be negotiated. Interns must commit to working a minimum of 32 hours per week. Graduate students are paid $18.91 per hour.

How to Apply

Completed internship applications should be submitted to or faxed to (650) 573-2116 with the required attachments below. Only completed applications will be reviewed.  Please contact us if you do not receive confirmation we received your application within 24 hours. If selected, you will be invited for an interview. In-person interviews are strongly preferred, but telephone interviews can be arranged if needed.  APPLICATION DEADLINE: February 29, 2016

  1. Cover letter
  2. Resume
  3. Completed application 
    1. Healthy Communities Assessment Intern application
    2. Epidemiology Intern application ​​


Have questions? Please review our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or contact:

Rosa Torpis
Program Coordinator
225 37th Avenue
San Mateo, CA 94403


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