COVID-19 highlighted the importance of public health and mental health services, and yet as the state emerges from the pandemic it is clear there are not enough qualified staff to meet local needs. Having a well-trained public health workforce is critical to protecting the public’s health, according to Trust for America’s Health. However, state and local public health directors retired at a record rate in 2020, citing burnout or worse. Similarly, we are seeing a rise in children and adolescents seeking mental health services due to the pandemic. The wait time for a first appointment in Massachusetts can be as long as several months, especially for those seeking clinicians who speak languages other than English. To address these workforce issues and to help train the next generation of clinicians and public health staff, the foundation is creating the MetroWest Health Internship Fund. The fund will provide stipends to local agencies to provide paid internships for students engaged in graduate-level educational placements within their organizations.
The goal of the Internship Fund is to:
- Increase staff capacity within local public health and social service agencies.
- Introduce graduate students to the work of MetroWest municipal and social service agencies with the hope they will remain in the region post-graduation.
- Increase the diversity of graduate interns seeking placements in MetroWest agencies.
Funding Nonprofit and government organizations based in the foundation’s service area are invited to request stipends for internships for direct clinical care or community health improvement projects. Individuals are not eligible to apply to the fund. Organizations may apply for up to $7,500 per intern. Multiple requests may be submitted. All foundation funds received by an agency for an internship must be paid to the intern. Supervision of interns will be considered an in-kind contribution from the host organization. Eligible interns must be enrolled in an accredited graduate program.
Interns are expected to devote a minimum of 300 hours per internship. If your agency has an internship opportunity that is less than 300 hours, please contact Rebecca Donham to discuss potential funding opportunities.