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Interns are expected to be on site with a host organization four days a week (30-32 hours a week), exact hours depend on intern and program schedules) and spend the majority of time working directly with the population served by each organization. Since this internship is meant to be experiential learning, it is important that interns spend time learning from the people served about their perspectives, needs, and priorities.
A primary goal of the program is to give our students an opportunity to work more directly with underserved populations of all kinds to better understand their health concerns and needs. Additionally, these internships provide invaluable community outreach to organizations that are on the front lines of health care. Students are paired with other health science students, to provide the opportunity for interdisciplinary learning.
We offer our interns an opportunity to work with any one of a range of different underserved populations in Pittsburgh, including teens, the elderly, homeless women, or other at risk populations. Some past successful projects have included:
- Developing and delivering health education curricula
- Developing resource guides and informational brochures to better meet the population’s needs
- Internal surveys and needs assessments to improve program quality
Interns identify any preferences of populations and then every effort is made to match interns with organizations that serve the populations identified.
Interns must complete a project by the end of their internship, chosen by the student in coordination with their community mentor and BTG Pittsburgh, and one that leaves the host organization with a tangible product. Interns’ faculty mentors are available to provide feedback on project design and resources. The project may tie into work already going on in a program, or be entirely different in focus. Three pairs of interns are peer-jury selected to present posters at a formal symposium in August, with community and faculty mentors and health professionals in attendance.
Once a week interns attend a variety of reflective sessions on campus instead of visiting their sites. Sessions include guest speakers from a broad range of community-based organizations and discussions about issues that come up throughout the internship. These sessions lend an additional multi-disciplinary approach to the internship. We also use this time to assist interns with their projects as needed. Interns are required to maintain a journal throughout the internship, for which they will receive weekly feedback on their activities, reflections, responses to discussion, and required readings. Required readings will also be discussed in reflective sessions.