College students have limited exposure to the numerous rewarding opportunities in public health and health care, as well as how to pursue them. In addition, the field has high barriers to entry and lacks well-defined career and educational paths (including entry-level positions), making it difficult for many students to acquire needed education, experience, and job opportunities. Recognizing these barriers, HCC’s approach is to create a health career pathway program, informed by research, that supports career opportunity, psychosocial support, individual aspiration, and confidence. These are key predictors of success, in particular for underrepresented minorities, that can strengthen students’ college success and entry into health professions schools.

Based on this evidence, HCC’s program connects college students with internship opportunities through which they gain the necessary exposure, experience, and mentorship to discover and launch their authentic health careers. HCC offers an educational stipend, so expense is not a barrier to participating in this opportunity— as is often the case for underrepresented students. In addition, HCC connects participants with diverse role models, fosters community support, and provides specialized training to inspire and prepare program participants to become the change agents in their organizations, communities and our nation.

HCC’s approach includes:

  • Exposure

    to career possibilities, role models and how health organizations operate.

  • Paid Experience

    to learn by doing, apply knowledge, hone their professional skills, and build self-confidence.

  • Mentoring

    to provide direction regarding career plans and support interpersonal development.

  • Professional development

    to increase knowledge and skills on key health career topics and professional competencies.

  • Networking

    among peers, HCC’s team, HCC’s partners, alumni and professional network, both local and national.

Through this approach, HCC interns are empowered to make better-informed decisions about their health career and graduate education choices. It also opens doors for them to launch their health careers. Interns have major “a ha’s” as they discover what they do and don’t want to do. They also learn how to get from where they are to where to be and have stronger connections and support to help them succeed. Learn more about our Internship Overview.

HCC provides support to alumni through staff and our alumni network so that individuals can obtain the support and connections they need as they progress to the next stages in their careers.