National Institutes of Health Creates Internship for CUNY J-School Students

Students interested in health and medicine reporting may apply for a special summer internship created for the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism by the National Institutes of Health. The internship, at NIH headquarters in Bethesda, Md., comes with a $5,000 stipend and has been funded for 2009 and 2010.

The internship will allow students to mold the experience to their own interests, from basic science to medical research on disease, aging or the human genome. Interns will have opportunities to work in multiple media formats and to attend events in Washington, D.C., in locations ranging from the National Press Club to Capitol Hill.

In a recent visit to the CUNY J-School, Marin Allen, deputy associate director for communications and public liaison, said the emergence of new technologies has made it an exciting time to be at the NIH. She said the internship would allow students to use new-media skills, such as working with audio or video, in addition to writing.

While the NIH offers a program to train working journalists, this is its first internship for students. It was created to honor Judy Fouche, a longtime administrator within the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, who died in July 2008. Her guidance helped many writers, editors, broadcasters and health communicators at the NIH, the primary federal agency for supporting and conducting medical research, Allen said.

The internship came about when Ellen Walterscheid, former director of career services for the CUNY J-School, broached the idea with NIH representative Sylvia Schaffers at the Unity: Journalists of Color Convention in Chicago in July. Schaffers worked with Allen to get the program off the ground.

Students interested in applying should contact William Chang, director of career services (646-758-7732; Trudy Lieberman, director of the health and medicine reporting program at the CUNY J-School, will collect the applications and submit them to NIH, which will make the final selection.