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 shapes our health opportunities and quality of life. HPP work focuses on making and influencing changes to these environments in order to maximize health and equity and create the conditions that enable all San Mateo County residents to live healthy lives. HPP has a particular focus on supporting low-income people of color communities with the fewest resources and highest rates of preventable health issues. To achieve our goals, HPP employs expertise in policy, planning, research, equity, epidemiology, communications, and advocacy. 

HPP is currently focused on three key arenas of work: 1) Built Environment: advancing public transportation, active transportation, and equitable smart growth land use practices; 2) Food/Beverage: increasing healthy food access and water consumption, lowering the consumption of sugary drinks, and creating sustainable food systems; and 3) Schools/Education: creating healthy school, after-school and childcare environments through wellness policies, systems change and youth leadership. To learn more about HPP’s work visit  

Focus of Internship Projects

The San Mateo County Health System is seeking two (2) dedicated and hardworking Health Policy and Planning Interns to join the Health Policy and Planning (HPP) team, a program within the Public
Health, Policy and Planning Division.  Health Policy and Planning is seeking 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.  Given below is the description for the two projects the summer interns will be working on.

Project Overview: Healthy Communities PSE Assessment
The focus of the internship project will be to help develop and conduct a policies, systems and environment assessment of cities across San Mateo County. Policy, Systems and Environments (PSE) in a community refers to the laws, rules and interventions implemented to shape the physical, social or economic landscape and make the healthy choices the easy choice for all community members. Local government bodies play an increasingly important role in shaping residents health outcomes – whether it is through polices that increase access to affordable healthy foods and public transportation, interventions to incorporate sidewalks, bike lanes, parks into community design or systems level change that requires departments to consider the health impacts of all new projects. For additional information about this project and candidate skills and background, please click here.

Project Overview: Get Healthy Case Study
The focus of this internship project is to help develop case studies for 17 projects funded by HPP’s Get Healthy Community Implementation Funding between 2013 and 2014. Every fall, Get Healthy awards a total of $100,000 - $150,000 in funding to community and faith-based organizations, nonprofits, cities, and schools in San Mateo County for place-based primary prevention and health equity efforts and projects. The main goal of the Community Implementation Funding program is to support community partner’s efforts to advance policy and environmental changes to the school, food and built environments, where we live, learn, work, and play. This helps make the “healthy choice the easy choice” for everyone in the San Mateo County.  For additional information about this project and candidate skills and background, 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: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
      e) 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 program is from June through August and the Fall/Spring Internship is from November through April.  Reasonable timeframe adjustments can be negotiated. Interns must commit to working a minimum of 32 hours per week for the Summer Internship and 16 hours per week for the Fall/Spring Internship. Graduate students are paid $18.91 per hour.

How to Apply

We are now accepting summer internship applications. The deadline has been extended to 12:00 p.m. PST, March 6, 2015.  Internship applications should be submitted to or faxed to (650) 377-1967 with the required attachments below.  Indicate the project(s) you are interested in applying for in your cover letter.  Only completed applications will be reviewed.  Please contact us if you do not receive confirmation that we received your application. If selected, you will be invited for an interview. In-person interviews are strongly preferred, but telephone interviews can be arranged if needed.

  1. Cover letter
  2. Completed application with supplemental questions
  3. Resume


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

Rosa Torpis
Program Coordinator
225 37th Avenue, 3rd Floor
San Mateo, CA 94403


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