Local Youths Offer Health Innovation Ideas During Summer Internship at Kaiser Permanente


This month, more than 20 (or 23 to be exact) local high school students competed for high school scholarships by offering health innovation ideas in a competition to culminate the Kaiser Permanente’s 2023 Summer Youth Internship Program. High school students from Baltimore City, Prince George’s County and Fairfax County spent their summer in an immersive program exposing them to careers in health care at Kaiser Permanente facilities in the region.

After last year’s fully remote program due to the pandemic, this year’s interns enjoyed in-person work experiences across Kaiser Permanente’s medical centers in Largo, Tysons Corner, and South Baltimore.

The program wrapped up on August 18, with participants presenting their innovative solutions in the areas of Mental Health and Wellness, Economic Opportunity, and Access to Nutritious Food to a panel of judges. This event marks a significant milestone for the interns, who have spent the summer gaining valuable insights into health care and contributing to the daily operations in the medical centers.

Following the presentations, one exceptional group was awarded the grand prize of a $2,000 scholarship per intern for their winning presentation as determined by Kaiser Permanente’s Community Health Department. The winners (pictured at right), D’Mya Gregory, 18, and Ebony Berry, 18, of Baltimore County presented “Understanding Money,” a financial literacy program designed to advance economic opportunity and address economic disparities, particularly for young people of color. Additionally, each intern received a scholarship ranging from $500-1,500 in recognition of their dedication and hard work.

“The 2023 Summer Youth Internship Program showcases our commitment to nurturing talent and providing young individuals with valuable experiences that shape their future,” stated Cynthia Cifuentes, Vice President, Brand, Communications and Community Engagement, Kaiser Permanente, Mid-Atlantic. “We are proud to have hosted these bright, young minds and to expose them to careers in health care. We also look forward to hearing their innovative solutions to some of the challenges we face across health care.”

Throughout the program, the interns worked and learned in various clinical settings, including radiology, urgent care, pharmacy, ob-gyn, acute care, and member experience departments. They participated in both administrative and clinical tasks, such as transporting members, wayfinding, and organizing supplies. This allowed them to gain firsthand knowledge and experience in the health care field while contributing to the daily operations of the medical centers.

During the program, the interns were exposed to various medical departments, offering opportunities to learn about different careers in health care. Notably, Dakara Wright, MD, a pediatric dermatologist with Kaiser Permanente in Maryland, engaged the interns at South Baltimore by providing an interactive demonstration on suturing. Dr. Wright shared insights into her medical journey, answered questions about dermatology, and even recommended her favorite skincare products, giving the interns a real taste of the health care profession.

Kaiser Permanente’s Summer Youth Internship Program is just one way that the health system demonstrates its commitment to improving the health of people and communities and addressing social determinants of health, including safe housing, access to healthy food and access to education. In 2022, Kaiser Permanente invested more than $169 million in community health programs supporting 89 organizations throughout the Mid-Atlantic. This impactful support touched the lives of more than 158,000 people in the region.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.6 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health. For more information, go to about.kp.org.

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