Admin Interns: The Backbone of AHP

admininterns14Each year, 300 recent college graduates apply to fill 11 Alliance Health Project internship positions, but the really big number is the 15,000 hours of service they provide to help keep things at AHP running. Interns do everything from staffing our HIV testing hotline and conducting research for our provider education newsletter, HIV Counselor PERSPECTIVES, to managing our Facebook pages, writing blog posts and monthly newsletters, helping visitors at the reception desk of our client services center, and providing indispensible help at our annual fundraiser, Art for AIDS.

“Interns provide capable, consistent support and contribute energy and fresh perspectives to our work,” says HIV Counseling and Testing Program Coordinator Jessie Murphy.  Special Events Coordinator Jose Portillo sees an intern as more than a welcome pair of hands: “having an intern that is dedicated to Art for AIDS is essential, not only because they work at the event but also because working with a partner helps my thought process.” The bottom line, as Operations Coordinator Chris Hall observes is that “it would be difficult to imagine how the Client Services Center would run without interns.” And that’s true for all of AHP’s programs.

Halfway through their internship, the 2013–2014 class echoes the staff’s enthusiasm while describing their experience at AHP. “Being an intern at AHP is like being surrounded by your friends and family all day long,” says Shervin Aazami. “Camaraderie is the norm here.” Jonathan Roberts adds, “I feel honored to be learning from the staff at AHP. It is amazing to be part of an organization that has been serving the community since the start of the AIDS epidemic.”

A year spent at AHP has launched many interns into work in public health or with the LGBTQ and HIV communities. Former Training and Publications intern Sonia Rostogi is currently in Mzuzu, Malawi performing an HIV needs assessment as part of Columbia University’s Master in Public Health program. Laura Shulman, prior HIV Counseling and Testing intern, is now a project director at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute’s Center for Community-Based Research, where she develops international tobacco cessation studies.
And Kimberly Nelson, once a research intern, is working towards a PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Washington. Her research, which she began thinking about while at AHP, focuses on the influence of sexually explicit online media on the sexual risk taking of men who have sex with men.  Kim says, “My experience at AHP completely changed who I am as a researcher by showing me the importance of culturally sensitive research that is not only academically interesting but also has practical implications for people’s lives.”

In this way AHP’s internship program serves our mission not only by helping us to meet our HIV and LGBTQ community health and wellness goals but also to support frontline providers in the field through training. We are proud to be able to provide a nurturing environment that equips our interns with an understanding of the HIV and LGBTQ-related issues, proud that interns go on to contribute to the future of public health, and privileged to integrate their insights and energies into our efforts—and our AHP community.

Interested in interning with us in 2014-2015? Details and application information here.