Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Health (Co-sponsored with the Harvard Global Health Institute)

Please Note: This internship is co-sponsored. This means that the funding for this internship is provided by two institutions at Harvard. The Primary Affiliation is with HGHI, and the Secondary Affiliation is with the IOP. The primary institute will be the point of contact during the application and internship onboarding process, and applications for this placement will be processed by HGHI.

Please note HGHI's application instructions to ensure you meet all the requirements. The intern selected for this internship will have the benefits and obligations of an intern in both of programs.


The Joint Committee on Public Health considers all matters concerning the public health of the Commonwealth and such other matters as referred to it. The Committee reviews, drafts and reports legislation relating to public health and also reviews other issues or matters relative to public health in Massachusetts.


Summer Project

Throughout the course of this internship, interns will gain a sense of political understanding about public health policy issues at the state and local level, and develop their professional, administrative, writing, event planning, and interpersonal skills. Projects range from attending meetings and events to writing memos and conducting legislative research. Interns will be assigned projects based on the Committee's needs during the summer. The Committee will also seek to assign projects that are within the student’s areas of interest.


Interns will have a variety of responsibilities that include, but are not limited to:

  • Writing and editing memos, budget reviews and bill summaries;
  • Attending hearings, briefings, and meetings that relate to public health and reporting their findings;
  • Assisting with planning of public hearings;
  • Conducting legislative research and tracking policy-related bills;
  • Monitoring local and national media outlets for policy issue coverage;
  • Performing administrative duties as necessary.


  • Interest in public policy, health care or public health, and minority or community health;
  • Flexibility to attend events outside of normal work hours when required;
  • Excellent research, writing, and communication skills;
  • Superb organizational, time management, and multi-tasking abilities;
  • Resourceful and able to work independently and collaborate effectively in teams;
  • Proficiency in Excel and other Microsoft Office programs.

Work Environment

The intern will work closely will the Joint Committee on Public Health staff, which consists of the Research Director and two Research Analysts. Work on the Committee is both independent and collaborative; each Committee staff member is engaged on a daily basis in independent research while also working on joint projects. The Committee may have one additional intern during the summer.


On a scale of 0 to 5, the level of internship supervision from very little (0) to a great deal (5) will be a 3.

Special Instructions

In your personal statement, please address the following question: What is your top health policy area of interest at the moment and why is it of particular interest to you?

2019 Intern Reflection:

This summer, I am interning for the Joint Committee on Public Health at the Massachusetts State House. The Committee is composed of State Representatives and State Senators across Massachusetts. I support the legislators on the Committee by preparing policy briefings and reports on hearings related to healthcare. Working on a small team made of impactful mentors, I have the independence to choose projects that align with my own personal interests.

Each day, I have the opportunity to interact with physicians, non-profit directors, legislators and the public on issues that matter to people across the Commonwealth. I’ve gotten to learn and delve deeper into a wide array of issues, from mental health parity to end-of-life care to environmental health. Through my work, I’ve gotten a first-hand glimpse of how the legislative system operates by actively taking part. My most memorable moment so far has been the chance to directly question the Chair of the Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy on realistic marijuana regulations, helping shape the conversation around the drug’s legalization and commercialization. I hope I get more moments like these, and continue to have a voice and role in shaping evidence-based health policy, and ultimately health outcomes, for the nearly 7 million people who call Massachusetts home.

Sahana Bail '20

2018 Intern Reflection:

My experience working with the Joint Committee on Public Health at the Massachusetts State House has met or exceeded all my expectations so far. As an intern for the Committee, I assist with researching public health issues and policies at the national, state, and local levels in order to inform policies related to topics like substance abuse, health care access and cost containment, social determinants of health, infectious disease, environmental health, and more. I also have the chance to learn from leaders, experts, and the public regarding current issues and policy initiatives in my home state by attending some combination of seminars, hearings, policy briefings, and legislative sessions almost every day and reporting back to the Committee on these events. I have also been tasked with tracking budget amendments and analyzing different versions of this bill as the budget deadline approaches.

One of the things that I appreciated about this opportunity was that the staff here truly wants you to get the most out of this experience and does all that it can to help you fit that experience to your unique interests. While I expected that an internship like this would entail completing assigned projects on specific public health issues that the Committee was working on, the staff actually allows you to have a considerable amount of independence and input in deciding what you work on at times. I appreciated the chance to go beyond the work of the Committee and to take some time to independently explore policy issues that I am interested in. The staff here also organizes a seminar series that allows interns to speak with countless leaders and experts on a daily basis - I think that this has been one of the most unexpected and valuable parts of this internship. Overall, I think that if you come into this position with an open mind and a drive to learn and connect with people then you will get more out of this internship than you might have imagined.

Ciara Duggan '21

Boston, MA / Cambridge, MA