Health and Active Communities Network Intern


Internship Opportunity – Summer 2013

Healthy and Active Communities Network Intern

The Illinois Public Health Institute is seeking a graduate-level intern to support the implementation of the Illinois Healthy and Active Communities Network (HACN), a peer learning network that supports local coalitions and community groups creating sustainable, systematic change through influencing the conditions that enable healthy eating and active living.

1)    Description of Illinois Public Health Institute

The Illinois Public Health Institute (IPHI) is a partnership of public, private and voluntary organizations that seeks to maximize health, wellness and quality of life for the people of Illinois.  IPHI administers a number of partnership-driven projects addressing specific program areas, including the Center for Community Capacity Development (CCCD), the Center for Health and Information Technology (CHIT), and the Center for Policy and Partnership Initiatives (CPPI).

IPHI stands at the nexus of public health planning and policy, with programs, partnerships or projects in Reducing Health Disparities, working on the State Health Improvement Plan, Training and Technical Assistance for local health department (LHD) assessment and certification, a pilot for voluntary LHD Accreditation, Quality improvement and performance management training and technical assistance, the development of a statewide Public Health Web-based Data Query System, coordination of stakeholder engagement for large-scale health information system design initiatives, and leadership and advocacy around preventing obesity in Illinois.

2)    Description of the project/placement/practicum

The Illinois Public Health Institute launched HACN in summer 2012 to support local coalitions and community groups creating sustainable, systematic change through influencing the conditions that enable healthy eating and active living. With a goal to further build local capacity, the network supports and fosters peer learning and cross-cultivation of ideas and resources among the many coalitions and partnerships in Illinois. The network will provide Webinars and technical assistance and connect coalitions with subject matter experts in other coalitions and at the state and national level. Affiliated organizations will have access to a Network Directory that can facilitate connections with other communities. In addition, the Network aims to build strategic relationships and improve coordination between local coalitions and state-level policy advocates to increase synergies, maximize resource use, and more effectively influence state and federal policy change.

The Network is in the early implementation phase. The intern will assist with various aspects of cultivating relationships with local partners, continuing to assess and monitor Network Affiliate needs, and responding to those needs by compiling tools, resources, and technical assistance. The exact nature of the internship tasks will be negotiated between the Intern and the Intern Supervisor, depending on needs, skills and interests.  Possible internship tasks include:

  • Assist in identifying local coalition needs and preparing for and facilitating technical assistance via webinar, conference call, and/or one-on-one (in-person, telephone, email), with particular emphasis on increasing capacity for implementing policy, systems, and environmental change.
  • Assist in the maintenance of a shared inventory of local initiatives (Network Directory)
  • If scheduling allows, participate in monthly calls for the six workgroups of the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity (IAPO) to glean information relevant to HACN and assist in implementing projects that support local coalitions
  • Conduct interviews with stakeholders from local coalitions and draft success stories or document lessons learned to increase awareness of work underway throughout Illinois
  • Identify timely topics for monthly newsletters and draft content
  • Synthesize research findings, draft policy updates, and compile other relevant information, as needed to support local partners
  • Assist in website development and maintenance
  • As applicable, support grant writing to raise funds

3)    Expected project outcome or product

The activities for this project are to assist in implementation of an ongoing peer learning network that builds the capacity of local initiatives in Illinois and increases their influence on local, state, and federal policy change.  The long-term outcomes are improved food and physical activity environments, decreased prevalence of obesity, and improved health in Illinois.

4)    Skills that would be desirable to accomplish this project

Qualified applicants will possess the following: excellent verbal and written communication skills; strong organizational skills; ability to take initiative on projects; comfortable working independently and in a team; an interest in improving public health through policy and systems change.

5)    Location where the intern would be housed

The intern will have a designated space, with a desk and a computer at Illinois Public Health Institute, 954 West Washington, 4th Floor, Chicago, IL 60607.

6)    Duration of internship and time commitment

The duration and time commitment will be negotiated between the successful applicant and her internship supervisor, and be further defined according by the internship requirements of the student’s school.  Generally, the selected candidate will be expected to produce at least 250 hours of work during this three-month internship. Interns will be expected to track their own hours worked and meet all negotiated requirements.


This internship will be expected to begin in early June and will conclude no later than the end of August.  Generally, work will be carried out between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.  IPHI will be happy to work with the student’s institution to support course credit or practicum requirements.

7)    Compensation for the internship

This is an unpaid position.

8)    How to apply

No phone calls, please. To apply, send the following three items

  • a personalized cover letter referencing the candidate’s relevant experience and training and how they fit the internship opportunity
  • a resume or curriculum vitae
  • one writing sample, no longer than five pages

to  Applications without all three requirements will not be considered.

9)   Equal Opportunity Employer

The Illinois Public Health Institute is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity. We commit to our coworkers, applicants and community to have internships and job opportunities open to everyone equally. It is the policy and practice of IPHI not to discriminate against any coworker or applicant on hiring decisions or career advancement because of race, color, religion national origin, age, sex, disability, sexual orientation, status as a disabled veteran, veteran of the Vietnam Era, or any other personal characteristic which is not a relevant qualification to the specific position.