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Making Inroads to Success: One Intern’s Summer Experience

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“Working in the media relations department, I’ve taken witness to how Kaiser Permanente... values its work, its relationships, its surrounding community and its own employees,” writes Symone Williams, Kaiser Permanente Southern California media relations intern, and third year junior at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Williams, along with 28 other college students from top-tier universities, recently completed her summer INROADS internship at Kaiser Permanente Southern California, which she documented through a short video.

She adds: “As I approach my third year at Howard University with a major in Strategic, Legal, and Mass Communications … I [have been fortunate to] be able to work in my field of interest, accomplish a few of my goals and set dreams that seem less and less like ethereal thoughts.”

Every summer, Kaiser Permanente recruits top college students from across the country for the Learn About Unlimited New Careers in Health Care (L.A.U.N.C.H.) INROADS internship program, now in its 19th year. Funded by Kaiser Permanente, the nine-week internship offers paid summer experience, scholarships, and the opportunity for students to return to the program for consecutive summers, and to apply for positions with Kaiser Permanente when they graduate.

One program goal is to enhance the diversity of Kaiser Permanente’s workforce by targeting minority and under-represented students. This summer, students from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, Howard University, and University of California, Berkeley, among others, were chosen to work at either the regional offices, or one of Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s 14 medical centers.

While INROADS interns gain valuable, hands-on experience working alongside a dedicated staff of health care professionals, they also provide a fresh perspective and prove to be prized additions to the departments in which they work.

“[Intern Lilia Calleros] completed projects that had been languishing for a long time,” notes Elizabeth Hamilton, LCSW, MPH, department administrator, addiction medicine at Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Medical Center. “It did not take a lot of time, but it did take someone with the time and the drive to get them done. Many of our staff have complimented her, and commented on how great it has been to have her in the Clinic.”

Click here to watch Williams’ video, and here to read the INROADS newsletter developed by Williams and Community Benefit INROADS intern Marlisha Burris, from U.C. Riverside.

Since 1987, Kaiser Permanente has worked with the INROADS organization to form L.A.U.N.C.H. (Learn About Unlimited New Careers in Health Care), a Community Benefit Program. This unique program is designed to provide students with practical experience in the health care field and to offer successful participants exciting career opportunities following graduation. Together, we remain dedicated to helping underrepresented college students of color develop into a powerful, multicultural workforce that delivers quality, cost-effective, and culturally responsive care to the diverse communities we serve.