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Health Education & Health Promotion Internship Program

As a requirement for graduation, all students majoring in Health Education and Health Promotion (HEHP) must complete an internship experience in their senior year administered through an online, capstone course:  EXW 484.  The course serves as a culminating experience for each student, bridging years of academic preparation with meaningful, hands-on practical applications of knowledge, skills, and abilities in a professional work environment.  This experience is supervised by a professional mentor and monitored by the Internship Coordinator, who also serves as the Course Instructor.  Each student enrolled in the course will complete an internship of their choosing within the healthcare field that meets 1) the objectives and requirements of the course, 2) established policies and procedures of the internship program (as outlined in the course syllabus and the Student Handbook of Internship Programs), and 3) the expected work performance of the hosting organization (internship field site), allowing the student to earn academic credit for the experience.

Program Objectives

Students will be required to address the following objectives of the course through the completion of assignments and in their individual work performance and professionalism, as demonstrated during the internship:

  1. Demonstration of professionalism in the field and classroom setting, as displayed by the student’s interpersonal skills, conduct, work ethic, self-directed initiatives, and qualitative/quantitative contributions to their hosting organization and course responsibilities.
  2. Demonstration of effective communication skills in areas of writing, verbal responses, non-verbal communications, and presentation development and delivery. 
  3. Practicing effective self-management and leadership skills, taking initiative as warranted and demonstrating creativeness in field work and completion of assignments.
  4. Engaging in self-reflection, to process learning experiences, strengths and challenges, and to aid in professional growth and development.
  5. Integrating didactic skills and core competencies learned throughout various academic training through the application of theories and methodologies relative to the practice setting.
  6. Broadening business acumen and awareness of the operational environment of respective fields of service, identifying, analyzing, and understanding the critical factors of operations affecting the mission of their host organization.

Program Requirements

  • Enrollment in EXW 484 for a minimum of 6 credits
  • Completion of a minimum of 270 work hours in the internships (or 45 work hours per registered credit)
  • Submission of the following documents:  Internship Learning Agreement (ILA), Midterm and Final Evaluations, Student Internship Evaluation, Internship Timesheet, and all course assignments
  • Compliance with internship program/course policies and procedures (as outlined in the Student Handbook of Internship Programs)

Internship Practice Categories

There are four internship practice categories that define the overall scope of services in which students may intern for the course:

Administrative
An administrative practice experience for an intern would primarily include tasks and projects that focus on the operations or “behind-the-scenes” administrative functions of the organization.  Interns would likely work under the supervision of a department or program executive or manager and complete tasks with departments such as human resources, marketing, finance/budgeting, fundraising, special events planning and coordination, strategic planning, and information systems. 

Clinical
A clinical practice experience occurs when the majority of the intern’s responsibilities involve engaging directly with the organization’s external clients, by assisting, observing, or taking some responsibility of the interaction.  Interns will typically work with or assist clinicians with one or more clients, in a direct care or treatment capacity within clinical practices at medical offices of dentists, physicians, and veterinarians; hospitals, health clinics, holistic and rehabilitation centers. 

Programmatic
Programmatic practice experiences involve internship work with specific programs or projects that directly impact or respond to the organization’s mission, fields of service, or revenue-generating operations that are non-clinical.  Interns usually work directly with external clients who are the end-users or benefactors of the services provided by the organization.  Interns would typically work on projects or programs involving teaching, instructing, or educating individuals or groups; or work in program development, implementation and evaluation.  For example, interns may assist or work with coaches, personal trainers, sports performance trainers, healthy lifestyle coaches, health educators, and corporate wellness consultants. 

Research
Interns working in research practice experiences work primarily under the guidance of a project coordinator and/or principal investigator.  These internship sites are usually located at universities, non-profit organizations, community centers, hospitals, and laboratories engaged in research activities.  Examples of student interns’ work may include data collection and analyses, interviewing respondents for research projects, assisting with interventions and survey development, or project coordination and evaluation.

Sample Experiences

Following are examples of internship experiences that were completed by School of Nutrition and Health Promotion students within the last academic year.

  • ASU Wellness (programmatic)
    Service Fields:  Health Education, Health Communications, Health Promotion
    Experiences:  Students work with the staff of a wellness department at a Division I university targeting the student population in developing educational health promotion marketing materials, managing and contributing content to social media sites, coordinating special events, providing student consultation, and managing health and wellness programs. 
  • Exercise Science and Health Promotion, ASU (research)
    Service Fields:  Research, Community Health, Public Health, Exercise Physiology, Epidemiology
    Experiences:  Student's assist Principal Investigators and Program Coordinators with survey development, researching articles, collecting and entering data, supplies procurement, training on various laboratory instruments and auditing tools, data analyses, and recruitment and management of research participants.  
  • Family VetCare (clinical)
    Service Field:  Veterinarian Practice
    Experiences:  Student gained experience by observing the doctor completing various exams and surgical procedures, assisting the doctor with examinations of clients, conducting various diagnostic analyses including biochemical, ultrasonography, radiological, and microscopic; learning and implementing protocols for examinations, vaccinations, and blood work; providing “patient” education (for human owners).
  • Lauren’s Institute for Education (LIFE) (clinical)
    Service Field:  Occupational Therapy
    Experiences:  Student assisted Occupation Therapists with therapy modalities for school-aged children, using various mediums, such as play, music, and obstacle courses, to develop and improve clients’ skills and abilities in areas of learning and social behaviors, developing copying skills, speech pathology, and motor control. 
  • Mesa Good Samaritan (programmatic)
    Service Fields:  Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Health Education, Strength Conditioning
    Experiences:  Student assisted wellness staff for a population of active seniors and geriatric adults at an assisted living facility.  The student provided assistance with health education and promotion programming in areas of nutrition, chronic disease prevention and management, exercise programs, and nutrition.  The student taught classes (exercise and wellness), developed and led informational presentations, contributed articles for and coordinated educational newsletter, and assisted with events coordination. 
  • The Mollen Foundation (programmatic)
    Service Fields:  Health Education, Health Promotion, Health Coaching, Obesity Prevention
    Experiences:  Student interns worked in pairs, as health coaching teams for an afterschool program targeting third – sixth graders from two elementary schools.  Students’ learning activities included delivering group health education, administering behavioral surveys, teaching exercises, coordinating physical activities, and providing nutritional information to students.
  • Ross Farnsworth East Valley YMCA (programmatic)
    Service Fields:  Exercise, Physical Activity, Recreation, Wellness Coaching
    Experiences:  Under the guidance of a Healthy Lifestyle Coach, student provided consultation to new members on proper usage of equipment, teaching classes, responding to member’s questions, developed customer service surveys, provided facility tours, observed personal trainings, and oriented new clients to the facility.  
  • Sierra Orthopedics (clinical)
    Service Field:  Orthopedic Medical Practice
    Experiences:  Student worked under the mentoring of a Physician Assistant completing a multitude of learning activities including taking and reading x-ray results, pre-operational patient exams, medical coding, treatment modalities, clinical tests, and patient diagnoses.
  • Scottsdale Community College, Athletic Department (clinical)
    Service Fields:  Athletic Training, Strength and Conditioning
    Experiences:  Students worked under the supervision of Athletic Trainers, working directly with athletes and coaches, by making assessments and responding to athletes’ injuries, conducting ultrasounds, providing personal training and exercise consultations, and nutritional education.
  • Sonoran Medical Center (administrative)
    Service Field:  Health Management
    Experiences:  Student learned various aspects of the managing a medical office including patient coding and billing, updating and auditing patients’ charts, added content and revised the organization’s website, researched health information, reviewed and revised organizational policies, and developed wellness brochures targeting weight loss for patients.

Internship Preparation Checklist 

Timeframe prior to internship semester Activity
1. 6 – 18 monthsResearch career fields and employment opportunities in areas of interest; conduct job shadowing and informational interviews at prospective internship sites to learn about various career paths and job functions.
2. 6 – 12 monthsReview and research various organizations and their respective internship opportunities as listed in the Directories of Affiliated Internship Sites.
3. 4 – 12 monthsAttend an Information Session for Internship Courses 484 (when offered) as early as two semesters prior (strongly suggested) but no later than one semester immediately preceding the semester in which the internship will be completed.
4. 4 – 12 months  Apply for a minimum of 5 – 10 internships and schedule interviews as applicable.  Visit ASU’s Career Services to schedule an appointment to have your résumé and cover letter reviewed or developed prior to applying for internships.
5. 4 – 6 months Decide if you want to complete your internship at your current place of employment, if applicable; if yes, submit a Petition to Complete Internship at Place of Employment by the deadline date.
6. 4 – 6 monthsPrepare and apply for hospital-based internships by the deadline date (see hospital-specific applications for requirements, instructions, and deadlines).
7. 4 – 6 monthsComplete health and safety requirements that may be required for internships (such as immunizations, fingerprint clearance cards, TB shots, CPR training, etc.).
8. 3 monthsSubmit a Petition to Affiliate a New Internship Site, if applicable; this petition is required for any student seeking to intern with an organization that is not currently affiliated with ASU.
9. 2 – 6 monthsAccept internship offer and decline offers as applicable and/or withdraw applications.
10. 2 – 3 monthsRegister for course EXW 484 (Session C) on your assigned course registration date.
11. 1 – 2 monthsComplete the Online Clinical Orientation (OCO) requirements for hospital-based internships if accepted as a hospital intern by the posted deadline date.
12. 1.5 – 2 monthsInternational students completing internships in the U.S. must submit a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) application to ASU’s International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) prior to the start of the internship.
13. 1 – 2 months Complete and submit an Internship Learning Agreement (ILA) via Blackboard for the course no later than two weeks prior to the internship start date.
14.   6 weeks –Begin working in the internship no earlier than six weeks prior and no later than the first
  
*First day of classDay of class in the semester in which you are registered for the internship course; students may not begin working in an internship until they have submitted and had approved an ILA.


Contact Information

For more information or questions about the Exercise and Wellness Internship Program or course, please send an e-mail to healthpromotioninternships@asu.edu.