All Community Health Worker students must complete a 120-hour internship placement (150 hours if paid) in order to be certified. Students do their internships when they are enrolled in Health 203: Professional Skills for CHWs and HLTH 203W: CHW Internship Placement, during their second semester of study. The internship is an opportunity for students to observe and practice CHW skills and services in the field, and to receive additional training, supervision and feedback from working professionals. In order to receive a CHW Certificate, students must receive a passing or satisfactory evaluation from their internship supervisor.
Types of Internship Placements
CHW students complete their internships with a local employer partner such as a health center, hospital, public health department or community-based non-profit agency. Students negotiate individualized Learning Objectives that fit their own career interests and the mission and services of the agency. We encourage interns to focus on practicing and enhancing 1-2 key CHW skills on their internship, such as:Providing community-based health outreach services
- Co-facilitating support or educational group along with an agency colleague
- Developing new health education materials or presentations
- Co-facilitating a training or workshop on a designated health topic
- Providing initial client-interviews or intakes
- Supporting clients with chronic disease management, such as the development and implementation of an Action Plan for Self-Management
- Providing client-centered case management services
- Participating in the development and/or implementation of a survey or community diagnosis designed to gather information from the communities served by the agency
- Participating in a community-organizing or public policy initiative or project
Establishing an Internship
Students must establish an internship placement by the time they complete Health 201, and before they begin Health 202.
The CCSF CHW Program Coordinator establishes agreements with local employers to offer internship placements. These opportunities are shared with students in Health 201. Students may also reach out to organizations on their own to inquire about internship possibilities. With the permission of their Instructor, students who are currently working as CHWs may complete their internship with their current employer, as long as the internship provides the student with an opportunity to practice a new CHW skill.
Students apply for an internship by emailing the agency representative and submitting a copy of their resume. Typically, the internship site will require an in-person or phone interview. The next step is to negotiate and sign an Internship Contract and Internship Learning Objectives. The Objectives detail the core tasks or services that the intern will provide, and the key skills that they will practice and learn.
Evaluating the Internship
As students undertake their internship, they must complete the required assignments for Health 203 and 203W and participate in discussions and case conferences. Course assignments are related to internship requirements and core professional skills including time management, code-switching, self-reflection, and cultural humility, and the ability to provide and receive constructive feedback in a respectful manner.
The CHW student, the Internship Supervisor, and CCSF faculty all evaluate the quality of the internship and the intern’s performance.
The Internship Supervisor is asked to evaluate the student’s performance in meeting the terms of the Learning Objectives halfway through the internship placement (at “midterm”) and at the end of the semester. These evaluations are confidential and submitted directly to the Health 203W Instructor and the CCSF CHW Program Coordinator. Supervisors are also asked to meet with interns to share direct feedback about what they are doing well and to provide specific guidance about what they can do to improve their performance.
Students evaluate their own performance at the end of the internship, as well as evaluating the internship placement site.
For CHW Students
To learn more about the internships from students and supervisors, please watch the following videos:
For Employer Partners & Internship Supervisors
Hosting a CCSF CHW intern is an opportunity for local agencies to:
- Contribute to the training of the next generation of CHW providers
- Mentor diverse CCSF students in the development of their professional careers
- Benefit from the contributions and services provided by a dedicated CHW
- Create and evaluate a relationship with a prospective future employee
The internship requires employers to:
- Designate a representative to serve as the lead supervisor
- Provide interns with an orientation to agency/program services, policies and protocols; additional training (as necessary); and regular supervision
- Provide the intern with opportunities to observe and participate in a wide range of agency services including on-site trainings, staff meetings and case conferences
- Provide interns with an opportunity to shadow or observe service providers before providing services themselves
- Evaluate the intern, providing constructive feedback about what they are doing well, and what they need to improve or do differently
- Communicate any significant concerns about the intern in a timely fashion to the CCSF CHW Program Coordinator
To see more information about the requirements of providing an internship, please review the Internship Supervisor’s Handbook.