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 professionals, the foundation created the MetroWest Health Internship Fund. The fund provides stipends to local agencies to be used to provide paid internships for students engaged in graduate-level educational placements within MetroWest organizations.
The goal of the Internship Fund is to:
- Increase staff capacity within local agencies focused on public health and behavioral health.
- Introduce graduate students to mental health and public health opportunities in MetroWest organizations with the hope they will remain in the region post-graduation.
- Increase the number of graduate interns of color seeking placements in MetroWest agencies.
MetroWest nonprofit and government organizations are invited to request stipends for internships for direct clinical care or public health work based in the foundation’s service area. Individuals are not eligible to apply to the fund.
Organizations may apply for up to $7,500 per intern. Multiple requests may be submitted, however the foundation reserves the right to limit the number of internships per agency. All funds received from the foundation 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.