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Diversity Student Internship Program Provides Public Health Insight (web article)

Harvey Daniels III and James Hodge, Jr., JD, LLM

Harvey Daniels III and
James Hodge Jr., JD, LLM

Harvey Daniels III already knew that he wanted to go to law school after he graduates from Xavier University of Louisiana next spring, but what he didn’t know was that there was an entire public health law field available for him to consider once he got there.

Daniels is one of 23 students who participated in the Diversity Summer Internship Program (DSIP) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who were paired with faculty for two months to assist in research being done at the School. Daniels worked with James Hodge Jr., JD, LLM, associate professor of Health Policy and Management and executive director of the Center for Law and the Public’s Health at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins Universities, on verbiage for individual states considering the implementation of the Turning Point Model State Public Health Act into their preparedness code. Daniels said, “This program gave me a look at another aspect of law that I hadn’t previously thought of. I received a lot of exposure to the field and learned how written policies actually affect populations.”

The goal of the DSIP is to provide experience in research laboratories to students of diverse backgrounds, including underrepresented minority students and students from economically disadvantaged and underserved backgrounds, in order to encourage the students to consider careers in science, medicine and public health. The 22 undergraduate students and one medical student have spent 10 weeks working with mentors on projects ranging from examining maternal-fetal calcium homeostasis to characterizing trauma patients and hospitals to surveying community based organizations in Baltimore, Md. The topics of research vary as widely as the students, which include 12 African-Americans, 4 Asian Americans, 1 Pacific Islander, 1 American Indian and 5 Hispanic Americans.

Lenora Davis, director of the School’s Student Diversity Office, explained that the students are expected to work much like a first-year graduate student. “They have one-on-one interaction with our faculty and they gain theoretical knowledge and practical training in academic research while here at the School.”

The students in this summer’s class of students attend colleges and universities across the United States and Puerto Rico, including Harvard, the University of Hawaii, Brown University and California State University. In addition to working on their core projects, the students attended weekly seminars on topics including environmental health and racial and ethnic disparities. The program concluded with a poster session in Feinstone Hall.

Thirteen local high school students, mostly from Dunbar and Patterson high schools, are also involved in DSIP. They are assigned to different health agencies, such as the Women, Infant and Children Program and Health Education Resource Organization, to gain exposure to the field of public health practice. Their internships conclude with oral presentations on Fri., Aug. 13, in W2030 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Each year, Davis said she hopes to increase the number of summer interns the School of Public Health hosts. She noted that the program is increasing in popularity. The number of applications has nearly doubled in the last two years.

As for Daniels, he has new plans for his future. He hopes to be accepted into Georgetown University’s Juris Doctorate/Master of Public Health program so he can pursue his long-time interest in the law and his relatively new desire to study public health.

Daniels said, “I was an integral and valued part of the team, working alongside a lawyer with years of experience. This experience has been really rewarding.” —Kenna L. Lowe

Public Affairs media contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Kenna Lowe or Tim Parsons at 410-955-6878 or