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 one (1) dedicated and hardworking Health Policy and Planning Intern 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 project the summer intern will be working on.

Project Overview: Health & Equity Indicators Project  
The initial focus of the internship project will be to help identify the most effective indicators to measure health and equity in San Mateo County from a health equity and place-based perspective. These indicators will correspond with a set of ten key components of a healthy, equitable community that were identified during community visioning sessions across San Mateo County. Example components include healthy, affordable and stable housing; active transportation options; a sense of belonging to a community; food access; and a thriving and inclusive economy. For the full list, visit Once the indicators are identified, the intern will work with HPP staff to compile the data and visualize it effectively for both internal and external audiences. Specifically, the intern will assist the HPP team in the following tasks:

  • Conduct literature and internet searches to identify health and equity indicators and their data sources related to several of the ten components of a healthy, equitable community
  • Compile, clean, and analyze data with a focus on one or two key components
  • Develop a health and equity data repository to store and share data
  • Develop tables, charts, and maps to visualize the data for internal and external use

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 is April 19, 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
San Mateo, CA 94403


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