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Department ofPublic Health

Leadership Program

The mission of the Department of Public Health at Santa Clara University is to “educate leaders for a healthier world.” We believe we must go beyond simply guiding our students in the acquisition of knowledge and technical skills. We must cultivate critical thinking, lifelong learning, and habits of mind that will allow our students to truly develop as leaders while engaging with contemporary issues of health, equity, and justice. To this end, the Valeriote-Goldman Public Health Leadership Program (VG-PHLP) was created.


The Valeriote Goldman Public Health Leadership Program (VG-PHLP) is an annual program partnering SCU Public Health students with local non-profit leaders for fellowship, dialogue, and experiential learning. The program seeks to:

  • Develop leadership skills among Public Health students, while deepening the commitment to effective and ethical leadership for social change among current and future public health professionals;
  • Provide public health students with deep and relevant experiential learning opportunities through mentored internships, while providing local non-profit organizations with skilled interns to further their missions; and
  • Build an employment pipeline for SCU students by expanding their professional network and opportunities, while strengthening partnerships between SCU and the surrounding community.

What does the program entail?

Courses-- VG-PHLP fellows will be enrolled in the PHSC 130 Public Health Leadership course (2 units) in the Spring quarter preceding the internship. PHSC 130 is a 2-unit course that hones skills in preparation for the summer internship placement and also fulfills the PHSC 139 requirement. In the Fall quarter after the internship, fellows will be enrolled in a dedicated section of PHSC 197 to conclude their VG experience.

Seminars-- During the summer, students will participate in 1-2 mandatory seminars (dates TBD), where participants take deep dives into questions that are both pragmatic and profound. Each seminar revolves around provocative readings from diverse sources. Seminars may include invited guests as well. These dialogues stimulate the intellectual, spiritual, and professional development of students and their public health mentors in a supportive shared learning environment. Participants often share an informal meal and network during these meetings.

Internship placements-- The central program component is the placement of students at local organizations for summer internships (paid for by SCU). During this 8-10 week (approximately 300 hours) internship, students observe and practice leadership in action, while working on projects guided by their mentor and staff at their host organization.

2022 Organizations include:

Who participates in the VG-PHLP?

The program pairs highly motivated Public Health majors and minors with accomplished local non-profit leaders. The VG-PHLP program is a competitive and prestigious opportunity for PHSC students in their junior year. Each year’s VG-PHLP cohort will be selected during the winter quarter and the program will begin in spring quarter.

What is the time commitment?

Fellows will commit to the Spring and Fall classes, completion of their 300 hour internship over the summer months (June - September onsite visits with fellows' organizations), and attendance at 1-2 summer seminars. Specifically: 1) enrollment in the PHSC 130 Public Health Leadership course (2 units) in the Spring quarter preceding the summer internship, 2) completion of the 300 hour internship over the summer months (June - September), 3) hosting a site visit for your cohort, 4) participation in the 1-2 mandatory seminar meetings in the Summer, and 5) enrollment in a dedicated section of PHSC 197 in the Fall quarter immediately following the internship.

Internship Information

  1. Students will typically work 30-40 hours per week for 8-10 weeks during the summer, with the specific work schedule to be coordinated between the student and the mentor. Students are expected to work 300 hours at their internship placement. Vacation breaks should be clearly communicated with the mentor and organization. It is expected that the VG internship will be your primary focus during the summer. Please reach out to Program Coordinator, Sarah Hays ( if you have concerns about your summer scheduling.
  2. Students will receive a stipend of $5500 during the summer months, paid in 2 installments. Students are encouraged to budget their finances accordingly.
  3. Students must be SCU juniors when accepted and planning to return for their senior year the following Fall. Priority will be given to Public Health majors and minors, but any student with a strong interest in community health can apply.

Apply here.

Application deadline is Wednesday, January 28th, 2024.
Questions? Contact Sarah Hays, Program Manager, or talk to a Public Health faculty member.

Selected applicants will be notified by mid-February of their acceptance. Internship organization matches will take place shortly thereafter.

Valeriote Goldman Symposium: Public Health & Social Justice