On Thursday, September 11, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. At the UC Riverside Palm Desert Campus * The Public is Invited

The Coachella Valley Economic Partnership’s (CVEP) Healthcare Industry Council is hosting its fifth annual Health Career Connection Internship Program Wrap-up Celebration on Thursday, September 11, 2014. The event, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., is at the UC Riverside Palm Desert Campus at 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive, B100 (Auditorium), Palm Desert, CA 92211. Please RSVP to Vicki Martinez at vmartinez@rivcoeda.org or call 760-863-2508.

CVEP’s Healthcare Industry Council, in partnership with the nonprofit Health Career Connection (HCC), facilitates a nationally recognized 10-week paid internship program for college and graduate students involved in the healthcare industry. The focus of these internships is primarily in the areas of public health leadership and administration. The goal is to grow a pipeline of local students to fill future high-level healthcare professions and leadership positions in the Coachella Valley.

“CVEP has the strongest regional health pathway program in the state. For five years we have been privileged to partner with them in increasing opportunities for young people from the valley to discover and succeed in health careers that suit them, and contribute to community,” explains Jeff Oxendine, President of the Health Career Connection and Associate Dean at UC Berkeley School of Public Health. “The young people I see in this community are special. They are hard -working and truly want to give back. That’s why we are partnering today to build the future health leaders from and for the Coachella Valley.”

This summer, 22 students held paid internships for 10 weeks in the healthcare industry and related sites around the area. Each host organization fosters an intern, where the intern works on a specific project focused on public health. This year’s hosts included: Angel View, Raices del Valle, Lideres Campesina, COFEM, Eastern Coachella Valley Building Healthy Communities, Clinicas De Salud, Desert AIDS Project, Coachella Valley Economic Partnership (CVEP), Desert Cancer Foundation, Desert Health Care District, Health Assessment Resource Center (HARC), Jewish Family Project, Desert Regional Medical Center (DRMC), FIND Food Bank, UCR School of Medicine: Future Physician Leaders Program, Habitat for Humanity, JFK Memorial Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, and the Office of Congressman Raul Ruiz, MD.


“Empowering young leaders of our community is essential for the future of the Coachella Valley. Through continuing partnerships with Health Career Connections and the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, I am proud to be able to support students such as Alfredo to provide firsthand work experience that will help them develop problem-solving skills and challenge them to move outside of their comfort zones,” says U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz, whose local office was a host site. “It is a privilege to be able to represent these talented young people and I look forward to watching them emerge as future leaders in our valley.”

The unique opportunities the program creates for the interns are greatly appreciated. “Through the internship at COFEM (Council of Mexican Federations) HCC has granted me, I have been able to learn more about the holistic definition of what health entails,” explains Mariela Magana. “Civic engagement and community organizing is one of the best ways of understanding how policies, environmental factors, health disparities and social norms affect our community members on a daily basis. This summer internship has helped me define the engaged community leader physician I want to become in the eastern Coachella Valley.”

Community support is the key to this program’s success. This year’s program funders who help pay the interns and associated costs are: Desert Health Care District, The California Endowment, California Healthcare Foundation, Health Career Connection, and East Coachella Valley-Building Healthy Communities.

“This internship program is key to building a top quality, compassionate health workforce for the future of our valley. The 74 local undergraduate students who have served in internships across the past 4 summers are now and will be in the future taking on essential healthcare roles as nurses, physicians, health educators and public health leaders right here in our valley. The health employers who host them are truly leading the way in developing a local pipeline of professionals to address the pressing health needs of our community,” explains Sheila Thornton, Vice President of CVEP’S Workforce Excellence who oversees the Health Industry Council and originally forged the partnership with HCC.

About CVEP Workforce Excellence
CVEP Workforce Excellence is a comprehensive career pipeline development strategy launched in 2005 to raise the region’s intellectual capital and workforce capacity by aligning the education, workforce and economic development efforts. The program works backward from employer demand, facilitating business/education collaboration through industry councils to assure students graduate high school prepared to succeed in college, career and life. For information, call 760-340-1575 or email blueprint@cvep.com.