Public Health Scholars (Internships)

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) welcomes students looking for experiential learning opportunities with practicing public health professionals in Rhode Island. RIDOH Public Health Scholars (previously referred to as interns) are challenged to apply what they have learned at school to help create innovative solutions to public health problems. Students gain insight about the multiple disciplines contributing to public health, and work within teams to develop policies, programs, and interventions that impact many Rhode Islanders. RIDOH Public Health Scholars are an important part of the RIDOH workforce - each year, up to 100 scholars gain valuable public health experience that influences their future careers.

What you can do

RIDOH Public Health Scholars collaborate with RIDOH's public health professionals and academic faculty to develop and implement joint projects. Projects may include:

  • Development of public health messages
  • Planning, development, implementation, or evaluation of public health efforts
  • Performance of work-flow analysis
  • Design and administration of surveys and collection and analysis of datasets
  • Preparation of reports or assistance in writing program plans, measures, and strategies.

Students from all disciplines, including public health, epidemiology, pharmacy, nursing, law, marketing, communications, management, information technology or other programs of study, are encouraged to apply for RIDOH Public Health Scholar positions. Your experience as a RIDOH Scholar will provide you with an opportunity to learn about state public health departments, how public health in Rhode Island saves lives every day, and how your career may intersect with public health. Scholars work with a specific program for a semester, academic year, or season, depending upon the project, scholars’ availability, and course requirements (if applicable). Projects are designed to advance RIDOH’s public health goals and scholars work under the supervision of both RIDOH staff and academic faculty from their home institution.


RIDOH Public Health Scholar experiences are open to students at all levels from undergraduate through post-graduate studies.


RIDOH Public Health Scholars can be compensated through a variety of methods depending upon the resources of the sponsoring RIDOH program. These methods include scholar experiences for academic credit, volunteer experience, or payment. RIDOH hosts a limited number of paid Scholars; however, we encourage Scholars to volunteer or request academic credit at your college or university.

Application Process

To apply for a RIDOH Public Health Scholar position, students should:

  1. Review available projects in the RIDOH Public Health Scholar Project Repository.
  2. Complete and submit the RIDOH Public Health Scholar Application, including project IDs listed in the repository.
  3. Discuss with your advisor: If applicable, discuss this opportunity with your advisor or faculty from your home institution.
  4. Optional application step: Students interested in pursuing a paid position should also complete the paperwork for RIDOH paid seasonal positions or the Rhode Island State Government Internship program.

Public Health 101 Webinar Series

The Public Health 101 (PH 101) series, hosted by the RIDOH Public Health Scholar Program, provides RIDOH staff a platform to share the great work they are doing to support Rhode Island and its communities. Each week, RIDOH programs provide a presentation that includes an overview of their program, the public health issues they are currently working, and/or and the program’s future goals.

Public Health 101 sessions are a great opportunity for students and public health professionals to learn about the comprehensive work accomplished within RIDOH’s diverse public health programs to achieve our three leading priorities: 

  • Addressing the socioeconomic and environmental determinants of health; 
  • Eliminating health disparities and promoting health equity; and 
  • Ensuring quality health services for RI residents.

If you would like to view a full schedule of the series or participate in any sessions, please create a TRAIN account.Create a TRAIN account.

After you have created a TRAIN account, you can register for sessions in Course ID: 6953. Register for Public Health 101