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Virtual Internship Program Brings Students Across the Country to IHS

by Minette C. Galindo, Public Health Advisor, Indian Health Service
Virtual Internship Program Brings Students Across the Country to IHS
Top Row (L to R): Keith Armstrong, Gul Ayaz, Stephanie Doran, Catherine Dunton, Catherine Esquivel, LaShai Jake, Felicity Lynchard

Bottom Row (L to R): Samantha Morrow, Troy O’Dend’Hal, Courtney Potter, Jeremy Simpson, Christina Sun, Tiffany Xie

This year, the Indian Health Service welcomed a cohort of students as eInterns who are working remotely on projects across the agency.

The Virtual Student Federal Service Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving  (formerly known as the Virtual Student Foreign Service), managed by the U.S. Department of State, is the largest virtual internship program in the world. IHS became the 31st federal agency to participate, joining agencies like the Peace Corps, NASA, Central Intelligence Agency, and the U.S. Department of Education in connecting with students across the globe on developing innovative ideas and projects across the government.

eInterns spend ten hours a week from September through May working remotely on their projects. This is unpaid, volunteer work, but eInterns make connections that make a difference, gain valuable experience, and sometimes get course credit. VSFS is open to U.S.-citizen undergrad through PhD degree candidates taking classes full or part-time, in-person or on-line, at a university anywhere in the world.

“Working with an organization the really cares about the population that they serve, I think that’s really been rewarding,” Sarah Green, an eIntern with the Office of Direct Service and Contracting Tribes, said in an interview with IHS by teleconference. “I think with IHS especially, it’s just a really great resume builder, it’s a great opportunity to work with people you probably would never work with.”

To hear more from Sarah about her experience as an eIntern, watch the video below.

Virtual interns within the IHS are working on projects that enhance the agency’s ability to deliver quality care to American Indians and Alaska Natives. Some of the projects include:

  • Producing bilingual Navajo and English videos for rural health clinics;
  • Developing Navajo specific health education materials on palliative care;
  • Creating a sexual assault locator map for IHS;
  • Optimizing behavioral health data collection methods;
  • Creating social media strategies and campaigns for health promotion

For the 2017-18 academic year, IHS welcomed more than 15 interns, both undergraduate and graduate students. They are studying a wide variety of subjects, including anthropology, nutritional sciences, cybersecurity, epidemiology, indigenous studies, geospatial intelligence, and pharmacy. Many of them have experience working with tribes and tribal organizations, but for others this is the first time they have worked on issues affecting Native people.

More information on the Virtual Student Federal Service, including how to apply, is available on the IHS Student Opportunities web site. Applications for the 2018-2019 academic year will be accepted in July.

Related content:

Behavioral Health Internship: From Rockville to Anchorage

Dental Externs Gain Valuable Experience in the Field

Native youth get on-the-job training with IHS Pathways Internships

Minette C. Galindo, Public Health Advisor, Indian Health Service
Minette C. Galindo, is a public health advisor in the IHS Division of Behavioral Health and serves as the Native youth lead and Behavioral Health Aide program lead. She is a graduate of East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania and Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.