RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif., May 13, 2021 Seventeen local students will join Inland Empire Health Plan’s (IEHP) community health team this summer in a new internship program focused on community program research and development.
In this mutually-beneficial program, students will work hands-on with health plan staff to support the region’s most vulnerable residents through the development of public health program curricula, analytical data support and more.
Selected from Claremont Graduate University (CGU) and The College of Osteopathic Medicine (COMP) at Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU), the inaugural cohort of interns will consist of 10 Medical students, six Masters of Public Health students, and one Doctor of Public Health student who are committed to serving the Inland Empire (I.E.) after graduation.
“Students are selected based upon their interests and area of concentration in public health with the goal of ensuring a mutually beneficial experience for both the student and IEHP,” said Dr. Deborah Freund, University Professor, Director of CGU’s Doctor of Public Health Program, and CGU President Emerita. “Claremont Graduate University’s School of Community and Global Health is committed to being a living laboratory for integrated health and well-being, particularly for vulnerable populations. This collaboration brings dedicated public health students, our next leaders, into the community to make an immediate and positive impact.”
The student interns will learn the correlation between practical problems and public health issues, make connections between health services and social determinants of health, and will have the chance to work with IEHP Team Members at all levels to understand the dynamic flow involved in providing health care to more than 1.4 million Members.
“The student interns will be challenged to better understand and solve problems currently impacting I.E. communities, especially those who have been disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Marcel Fraix, WesternU Assistant Dean and Professor, Dept. of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Chief of Section of Health Policy & Management in the university’s Department of Population Health. “This allows students to better understand and help the patients and communities they will one day serve as future physicians and health care providers.”
The new internship program will also provide a pipeline of medical professionals to help address the ongoing provider shortage in the I.E. Set to begin in June 2021, the program is expected to run for one year, with the potential for additional years being added as the program develops.
In the first of many planned initiatives through this multi-year collaboration, interns will assess the community and Member’s current knowledge of COVID-19 and design curriculum based on findings. Through this work, interns will provide Members and communities with a clear understanding of COVID-19, the vaccine, and myths associated with vaccine hesitancy. In addition, interns will train and instruct IEHP Team Members and community-based partners to incorporate the curriculum in the future.
“This new internship program brings together the hearts and minds of those who truly care for the I.E.,” said Jarrod McNaughton, IEHP chief executive officer. “We are eager to collaborate with these up-and-coming medical professionals and are committed to providing a rich and practical internship experience, as we work together to provide optimal care and vibrant health for our communities.”