Leadership Development in MPH Internships

The Annual "Leading From Where You Are” Award


Collage of Leading From Where You Are awardees


Each year, the Center for Public Health Practice & Leadership (CPHPL) presents the “Leading From Where You Are” awards at the Preceptor and Student Intern Recognition event in September. These awards were created specifically to recognize student efforts to impact change and serve as a leader in their summer internships, in order to further the goals and/or effectiveness of their organization, project, or community.

Definition of "Leading From Where You Are"
The CPHPL defines a leader as someone who motivates, empowers, and inspires a group of people to work toward and achieve a common goal or vision. The CPHPL has further used a theme of “leading from where you are” to allow students to engage with leadership throughout their career, independent of their positional authority, to affect change, and to contribute to the goals of an organization, project, or community (Lachance & Oxendine, AJPH 2015). 

All MPH students in internships are eligible for the award. One recipient per concentration is selected.Nominations:

Students can be nominated by their field supervisor, preceptor, colleagues, or peers; they can also self-nominate.

Selection Criteria
Nominations are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Affects change to contribute to the goals of an organization, project, or community
  • Works beyond assigned responsibilities Pushes self outside comfort zone
  • Demonstrates independence from positional authority
  • Demonstrates how this speaks to a shared goal or vision with others in the organization, project team, or community

Questions? Please email: cphpl@berkeley.edu

Learn More about the 2017 awardees:

Veronica Ponce de Leon, Environmental Health Sciences
Internship Site: Occupational Health Internship Program, UCLA-LOSH, Los Angeles

"Veronica has certainly met my expectations. She is organized, detail-oriented, self-reliant, and is able to apply her academic knowledge to this community-based work. I also appreciate that she doesn’t hesitate to reach out whenever she has questions or needs support. Veronica will have the opportunity in August to present findings from her summer project to an audience of occupational safety and health professionals from around the country."

Isabel Munoz, Epidemiology/Biostatistics
Internship Site: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Durham

"Ms. Munoz analyzed data and wrote a fantastic paper this summer which we are submitting now for publication. We anticipate that the findings will be high impact, but I also believe that the paper will go to a good journal because she did such a wonderful job presenting the data both with her writing and with the figures she developed. Her efficiency this summer was striking, but what I appreciated most was her enthusiasm for each part of her project--even when it came to mundane details."

Natalie Bates: Health Policy Management
Internship Site: Zuckerberg San Francisco Hospital/SFDPH, San Francisco

"Natalie demonstrated exceptional leadership through her work in the department of Food and Nutrition Services. While we were experiencing a change in leadership, she rose to the challenge and demonstrated the knowledge, and ability to make real improvement. Natalie also was able to coach and develop the front-line leaders within the department of Food and Nutrition Services."

Tyler Brewington, Health and Social Behavior
Internship Site: Bay Area Black United Fund, Oakland

"Although we crafted a detailed workplan at the beginning of the internship, Tyler's intellectual curiosity lead her to explore new databases, communications platforms, archival research techniques, and visual design tools online. Tyler focused the importance of helping to make our collective work together and was able to foster community between staff members. She was an integral part of our research team and she often times set the standard for work productivity and contributed to the development of our interview protocol."

Jessica Hernandez Bivian, Infectious Disease and Vaccinology
Internship Site: Marin Health and Human Services, San Rafael

"Jessica developed a comprehensive web site for Title 17 Reportable Communicable Diseases, which will be used as a tool to guide staff in their daily work in communicable disease control. She performed communicable disease investigation, taught prevention and control measures, notification, surveillance, and helped streamline the communicable disease work process. Jessica created power point presentations and a comprehensive public health outreach curriculum. Her work will be used as Marin County's primary tools in our community prevention outreach to schools, preschools, child care, skilled nursing and assisted living facilities."

Megan Bontempo, Maternal and Child Health
Internship Site: Youth+Tech+Health, Oakland

"Megan was a first class member of our team during her internship and demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and professionalism throughout her engagement. Megan took a leadership role, beyond expectations by managing the project timeline, developing a clear work plan, coordinated with the wider design team and also managed a junior intern's day to day tasks. She produced an informative a beautifully designed report, which was presented to the Packard foundation and lead to being successfully funded by the organization. This was of exceptional quality and is reflective of Megan's drive and willingness to push herself in both her public health and design skillset."

Daniela Flores, Public Health Nutrition
Internship Site: UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations, San Francisco

"Daniela consistently went above and beyond throughout her time working with us on the EatSF fruit and vegetable voucher program based out of UCSF' Center for Vulnerable Populations. From the very beginning, she has proven to be the best summer intern we have ever had due to her work ethic, eagerness, professionalism, and constant willingness to learn and participate. I felt as though she pushed others to work to their full potential after they noticed her tireless work ethic and high morale."


Learn More about the 2016 awardees:

Golda Hernandez, Health and Social Behavior
Internship Site: Homeless Prenatal Program, San Francisco

Golda Hernandez

"Golda put on a training of great magnitude that required impeccable project management, strategic thinking, and ‘on the fly’ problem solving skills. She led the training with courage, incredible cultural humility, and most importantly a high level of professional integrity given the sensitivity of the subject matter. Golda’s ability to face such a high volume of analysis was impressive, but even more impressive was her ability to understand how this effort fits into and supports a larger strategy. Her ability to understand and learn the formal and informal decision-making structures was evident in that she a put a lot of care and attention into the presentation of the results to the executive team and staff."

Chantal Griffin, Health and Policy Management
Internship Site: California Primary Care Association

Chantal Hernandez

"Chantal brilliantly blended her health policy and social welfare coursework and professional experiences to add immense expertise to our association’s behavioral health work. Early in her internship, Chantal expressed a strong interest in designing a project to better understand and improve LGBTQ patience experience in health centers. She also created new materials, including a county by county analysis of behavioral health provider licensees. These materials have been shared with the Governor’s office and members of the legislature. Chantal completed in-depth research on MHSA (Mental Health Services Act) and county utilization of federal MHSA funds. Her research, which included phone interviews with half of California’s 58 counties, is already being used by the association to develop our behavioral health policy and funding strategy. Chantal truly worked with little supervision and like a seasoned member of the staff team."

Mikaela Burns, Public Health Nutrition
Internship Site: Oakland Unified School District 

Mikaela Burns

"Mikaela continued to take assignments above and beyond her scope of work and during her time at OUSD she became deeply invested in Nutrition Services and an integral part of the team. While I was on vacation she worked diligently on a major menu project - problem solving and making appropriate decisions without my input (and did a job that well exceeded expectations at a level of production comparable to any of our senior staff)."

Lauren Hunter, Maternal and Child Health
Internship Site: Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, San Francisco

Lauren Hunter

"Lauren’s efforts changed what we know about the activities of local health departments and will affect future stages of our work. Without her leadership skills, it is likely that the study of local health departments would have not been completed and our understanding of their impact would be more limited. We will continue to present Lauren’s results in our presentations and papers. Her contributions will be felt for a long time."

Alexis Reeves, Epidemiology/Bio Statistics
Internship Site: UCSF, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, San Francisco 

Alexis Reeves

"Alexis' independent performance in carrying out analysis was so impressive that the biostatistician focused on other key projects of our Center. Alexis surprised the research team with findings from a mediation analysis she carried out independently, pursuing an answer to an important question that confronted the team. Her initiative demonstrated her commitment to the shared goals of the project team to learn all that is possible from the valuable data collected. Her commitment to the team, creative thinking and careful application of skills to a complex problem are the building blocks of outstanding leadership."

Megan McIntosh, Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology
Internship Site: Forum for Collaborative HIV Research, Washington, D.C. 

Megan McIntosh

"Megan immediately began work as the first author of a review article on Cytomegalovirus (CMV) drug development and regulatory issues. Less than four weeks after beginning her internship, Megan had completed the article which was submitted to and published by the Journal of Virus Eradication. She fully committed to completing the paper on such a short deadline that she spent her first evenings and weekends in DC working on the project. Megan is the rare type of person who is able to quickly step into a new area of research or public health and confidently take leadership of a project or even a small part of a project."

Michael Lucia, Environmental Health Sciences
Internship Site: Center for Environmental Health, Oakland

"Michael took total charge of the project given for beta testing by the University of Colorado. He worked many additional hours teaching himself about air monitoring hardware and software. One special accomplishment was that Michael upgraded the wireless capability of the devices, markedly increasing their utility for our community partner. The use of these monitors can keep polluters honest about the extent of what they are releasing, and in light of the Aliso Canyon methane leak have the potential to be an early alert system for hazardous and explosive gas leaks."

2015 Awardees


Health and Social Behavior
Nathan Kamps-Hughes, National Youth Center for Law

Nathan researched Mental Health Services Act funding and how it is spent on children, while comparing Medi-Cal/ MHSA funding overlaps. He also worked with foster youth, stakeholders, and legislators on psychology medication bill package efforts.

Shiffen Getabecha, UC Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program

As a health educator intern, Shiffen assisted with two outreach and education projects: 1) finalizing and implementing a youth peer leader program that prepares peer leaders to educate other high school students in youth employment programs about workplace health and safety; and 2) research and development of a program to support and educate temporary workers to ensure safe and just working conditions for temporary workers.


Health and Policy Management
Karen Reyes, City of Oakland

Karen familiarized herself with the SCAN Foundation Linkages Lab Academy program development materials, gathered readmission data for hospitals in Oakland and Northern Alameda County, and researched/developed a training curriculum based on both the legal requirements of the ADA and related laws, as well as disability etiquette best practices.

Lina Borgo, Kaiser Permanente 

Lina provided project management and consulting support on Health Innovation department initiatives and contributed to a designated project to keep KP business objectives in one or more of the three Health Innovation department focus areas. She also partnered with Health Innovation team members to advance collective project efforts by utilizing Health Innovation design thinking and project implementation framework.


Public Health Nutrition
Amanda Jones, National Rural ACO Consortium

National Rural ACO is in a phase of rapid growth, where Amanda assisted in developing training, logistics support and coordination of the Care Coordination Coaches function for NRACO. She helped develop, source and test our training process and content. She also worked within and across functional teams to align best practices with our rural Hospital network and our ACO Management Team.

Katie Johnson, UC Merced

Katie participated in changing environmental and systems policies in Merced County through the Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) project. She was responsible for tracking the media impressions associated with PICH and assisting with the creation of a media toolkit for community partners, and writing/editing community partners’ success stories.


Maternal and Child Health
Stacey Yamamoto, SF Department of Public Health - Behavioral Science 

Stacey worked with the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) program’s contract, mission, strategies, evaluation plan, objectives and participant activities. She also became familiar with developing evaluation plans, evaluation tools, and data collection methods. Stacey wrote a summary/evaluation report, which includes background objectives, evaluation methods, summary of findings, and recommendations of CQI program activities for the MHSA programs.

Sarah Raby, March of Dimes, California Chapter

Sarah led the revision of interconception care guidelines for the 6-week postportion medical visit, along with a volunteer workgroup of clinicians and other health professionals and her preceptor. She developed and finalized a report summarizing best practices and outcomes from the March of Dimes’ grant-funded projects that focused on preconception/interconception health and health care.


Epidemiology / Bio Statistics
Jaclyn Gurrero, Metabiota Inc. 

Jaclyn evaluated and interpreted outbreak data to develop appropriate statistical methods of data analysis. She ensured the accuracy and reproducibility of data sets and analyses by following relevant work practices and procedures as well as processing data from multiple data streams and customers. She worked closely with a lead statistician to develop and execute statistical analysis plans. She created customer-facing reports of statistical analysis work and presented to internal and external stakeholders.

Carrie Fahey, Raimi + Associates

Carrie worked on a variety of projects related to Health in All policies, including health elements of general plans, developing educational materials, and collecting and presenting community health data. She also spent time working on Health Impact Assessments, Community Plans, and bringing a health lens to Sustainability Plans and Climate Action Plans. She mapped, analyzed and described trends in housing code violations and correlated condition in Salinas, California that pertain to health and created a fact sheet describing findings.


Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology
Jonathon Liu, Forum of Collaborative HIV Research

Jonathan consulted with expert Forum staff and utilized Forum learning materials and outside resources to expand the knowledge base. He attended seminars, webinars, and sat in on policy calls. The intern Forum blog was updated by Jonathan with current news and personal reflections. He created and managed a spreadsheet summarizing Non-human primate HIV Cure studies for the Animal Models Working Group. He also reported on HIV and HCV events and led a discussion in bi-weekly journal club meetings.


Environmental Health Sciences
Brian Rodriguez, Center for Environmental Health 

Brian developed risk characterization around neurotoxic fracking chemicals. He also worked on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform. He contributed to a webinar on community and pyschosocial effects of energy development and production. He attended the OEHHA BPA Hearing related to listing BPA as a reproductive toxicant under Proposition 65 in California. He reviewed policies at the national level, and conducted a gap analysis determining what work needed to be done to help CFE continue achieving its goals on a national level.