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“Health Policy In Action” JTerm Internship Course

Professor Jessica Holmes is offering a JTerm academic internship course called “Health Policy in Action.”

This course will combine a four day/week internship at a Vermont health care organization with one session/week in the classroom, providing the opportunity to apply liberal arts learning to real-world experience in addressing critical issues facing Vermonters. Students will spend 30 hours a week on-site at various organizations in Middlebury, Burlington and Montpelier. Class time will be spent debriefing the internship experience, building skills relevant to health policy analysis and working on the research project. Grading will be based on participation, evaluation by internship sponsor, evidence of personal growth, and performance on the final project. Below you will find more specific information about the internships available. For more information about each organization, check out their website. If you have questions, please reach out to Professor Jessica Holmes at jholmes@middlebury.edu.

IMPORTANT:

Enrollment in the course is by approval only. Interested applicants must email a resume to Professor Jessica Holmes at jholmes@middlebury.edu with the subject line JTERM and a short online application by Oct 20. Please review the internship descriptions below to rank your preferences in the application.

Internships:

Porter Medical Center (Middlebury, VT)

Sponsor: Ron Hallman, VP of Development and Public Relations

Project will focus on developing strategies with specific tactics/partnerships/resources to address a number of community needs that emerged in Porter’s 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment report (i.e. lack of transportation, affordable housing, substance abuse, etc.).  

University of Vermont Health Network (Burlington, VT)

Sponsor: Eve Hoar, Network Director, Strategic & Business Planning

The UVM Health Network Strategic & Business Planning team welcomes two interns to do deeper exploration of topics in healthcare innovation and their application to healthcare delivery in the UVM Health Network service area. Students will work on a month-long project and have opportunities to attend meetings with network affiliate leaders at one or more locations around the Network.  Project topics will be determined as January approaches, but potential project topics include:

  • Gaming applications in healthcare
  • Patient access centers:  recommendations for UVM Health Network
  • Geri-psych care:  innovations for consideration
  • Aging in Place:  what are the implications for the care continuum and for the economics of population health
  • Workforce issues, including the recruitment of providers and nurses to Vermont:  new ideas that are working in other rural areas
  • Population health approaches for patients with cognitive decline

Bi-State Primary Care Association (Montpelier, VT)

Sponsor:  Helen Labun, Vt Director of Public Policy

Intern will work with the team to help publish a short podcast series that explains basic health care policy concepts and terms. The format for the podcast is a series of short interviews, segmented by themes, with show notes that include additional details and links to additional resources. The intern will help create the show notes, gathering background information ahead of interviews, participating in interviews, fact checking, generating ideas for future topics, and helping build distribution channels for the podcast. 

Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (Montpelier, VT)

Sponsor:  Jeff Tieman, President and CEO

Project will focus on working with the VAHHS team to identify health policy issues of relevance to Vermonters and find easily digestible ways to make them accessible to the public. The internship will involve interviews with health policy stakeholders, academic research, and the crafting of one-pagers for a general audience.

Green Mountain Care Board (Montpelier, VT)

Sponsor: Susan Barrett, Executive Director

Project will help identify strategies for rural hospitals to achieve sustainability in a climate of shrinking population, work force shortages, rising costs and federal and state payment reform. The intern will conduct research and interview key stakeholders to assemble successful strategies, tactics and resources deployed in other rural communities. Final project will be a written set of prioritized recommendations presented to the GMCB.

House Health Care Committee-Vermont state legislature (Montpelier, VT)

Sponsor:  Rep. Bill Lippert, Chair

Intern will serve as a research assistant for the House Health Care Committee, providing background and analysis for health policy bills as they arise during the legislative session. Intern will attend committee meetings, floor sessions, and conduct and present research as requested by committee members.

Senate Health and Welfare Committee-Vermont state legislature (Montpelier, VT)

Sponsor:  Senator Virginia Lyons, Chair

Intern will serve as a research assistant for the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, providing background and analysis for health policy bills as they arise in session. Intern will attend committee meetings, floor sessions, and conduct and present research as requested by committee members.

Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care (Montpelier, VT)

Sponsor:  Catherine Fulton, Executive Director

Intern will work the VPQHC team on their “Survey and Training for Independent Mental Health Providers” project- a project that developed through their Zero Suicide Work Group.  The intern would help survey mental health clinicians across the state to identify both clinicians who have previously been trained in suicide specific treatment protocols and those clinicians who have not been trained but are interested in receiving training. The survey would also include an assessment of potential barriers to engaging in training. The intern would then interpret the results for a presentation to the Zero Suicide Work Group. The analysis will help develop a list of clinicians with suicide-specific treatment training, which can be shared with appropriate referral sources in order to encourage smooth and appropriate transitions of care for patients experiencing suicidal thoughts. The results will also inform the next phase of the project to increase the accessibility of evidenced-based suicide specific training, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Suicide Prevention or Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality.

PLEASE NOTE:

For Montpelier internships: The College has rented a shared house for students that is a walkable mile from downtown (the site of all internships). Students will have to cover most of their own food expenses during the week and will be expected to return to Middlebury College on weekends. There are some funds to defray gas expenses to/from Montpelier once a week and students with cars may be asked to offer rides to students without cars.

For Burlington internships: Students will stay on campus but there are some funds to defray travel expenses (gas and/or ACTR to Burlington). The College will cover hotel accommodations in Burlington during bad weather.