Aligned with NCDHHS' priority to build a strong and inclusive workforce, the Division of Public Health (DPH) launched a targeted recruitment effort for internship placement in partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) in May 2022.
Interns were recruited from 10 North Carolina HBCUs and four MSIs that have fields of study relevant to the work of NCDHHS. During their 8-week assignment, interns worked within various branches within DPH and other participating divisions or offices, and participated in weekly lunch and learn events. They also engaged in NCDHHS-sponsored events and training that directly impact the health and safety of children and families in North Carolina.
Participants in the summer cohort were trained as COVID Ambassadors and became more knowledgeable about many aspects of COVID-19. The interns can now serve as COVID Ambassadors in their local communities and on their campuses to address misinformation with accurate and updated information and to connect others with COVID-19 resources including testing, personal protective equipment, vaccination and wraparound services. The COVID Ambassador certification was offered by, and in partnership with, Wake County Human Services.
“We thought training interns as COVID Ambassadors was relevant to the health and safety that we as public health administrators are charged to provide for all residents in North Carolina," said Corell McRae, program director in NCDHHS' Division of Public Health. "Our interns are now ambassadors for public health and can act as another resource to provide best practices in addressing COVID-19. We hope to build on these connections with the universities and the students.”
The HBCUs/MSIs Internship program concluded with an internship immersion event that was held July 27-29, 2022, at the Jane S. McKimmon Center in Raleigh, NC. Leadership in the Secretary’s Office and Division of Public Health presented information on Monkeypox, health disparities in communities that are underserved with access to care and resources, and other workshops. In addition to the workshops, interns were able to tour the Public Heath State Lab, attend a reception hosted by Gov. Cooper at the Governor’s Mansion, visit and tour the NC General Assembly, and meet Secretary Kody Kinsley during a reception. During the reception, Secretary Kinsley shared perspectives from his personal and professional experiences during the dialogue with interns.
NCDHHS' Division of Public health will welcome another cohort of interns during the 2023 Spring semester.