With Hawaii’s public health workforce projected to decrease by one-third*, all public health organizations have to be committed to training a new generation of public health workers. HIPHI is committed to this and will continue mentoring students who are interested in a public health career or working in the nonprofit sector.

Choose Healthy Now interns learning about educational materials.

Our internship program aims to provide an entry-level, experiential learning opportunity for students using a mentorship model of supervision. This model encourages HIPHI mentors and interns to build strong rapport and address both professional and personal development issues.

Over the past few cycles, interns have assisted staff in the research and writing of special reports, policy briefs, and legislative recaps, as well as assisting in the collection of information from focus groups. In 2018, public health interns assisted HIPHI staff and Hawai’i Department of Health in taking inventory of Choose Health Now educational and promotional materials in participating retail locations across the state.

More recently, HIPHI welcomed undergraduate public health students Alexis Cortes, from Hawai’i Pacific University, and Jaelynn Lopez, from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, to our internship program. Alexis and her HIPHI mentor Scott Stensrud, Statewide Youth Coordinator, trained middle and high school students to advocate for policies that address tobacco prevention and cessation. Read more about Alexis here.

Jaelynn and her HIPHI mentor, Kevin Ramirez, co-facilitated ESD education sessions at schools, assisted in updating educational presentations, and assisted in researching actions Federal agencies such as the FDA took around regulating the electronic cigarette and tobacco industry.

Mentor Kevin and Intern Jaelynn

HIPHI is honored to train and mentor exceptional interns such as Alexis and Jaelynn, and we’ll be watching their progress in the years ahead. Alexis hopes to continue to work with youth, while Jaelynn hopes to study nursing.

HIPHI will continue to mentor interns in:

  • policy and advocacy;
  • tobacco/ESD prevention;
  • healthy eating + active living;
  • Farm To School and School Peace Gardens movements;
  • health communications; and
  • nonprofit administration.

We are deeply committed to helping develop the public health workforce of tomorrow and will partner with Hawai’i universities, government, and health organizations to meet the needs of Hawaii’s citizens.

For more information about HIPHI’s internship program, please contact Rie Kuhaulua at rie@hiphi.org.


*Braden, K., Yontz, V., & Withy, K. (2017). Preliminary Hawai‘i Public Health Workforce Supply and Demand Assessment. Hawai’i Journal Of Medicine & Public Health, 76(3 Suppl 1), 10. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5375007/