The application period for CHBRP's Summer 2021 Graduate Student Internships has ended. In December, applications will open for the 2022 positions.
The California Health Benefits Review Program (CHBRP) is a neutral source of independent, evidence-based health policy analysis that leverages the expertise of UC faculty and researchers, actuarial consultants, and a National Advisory Council. The program is led and coordinated by a dynamic team, located within the University of California, Berkeley. CHBRP responds to requests from the State Legislature to provide analysis of the medical, financial, and public health impacts of proposed health insurance benefit mandates and repeals, as well as other health insurance-related legislation.
CHBRP regularly offers a paid, full-time graduate student internship, generally from June through August, and periodically hires students on a part-time basis during the Fall and Spring semesters. Interns become an integral part of the CHBRP team and assist with various projects and tasks. Each intern has the opportunity to complete a substantive individual project, while also getting exposure to, and participating in several other aspects of CHBRP’s multi-faceted work. Interns will also attend meetings with important stakeholders in California’s health policy arena, which provides valuable learning and networking opportunities. We encourage you to read below to learn about the experiences of our past interns.
Intern Experiences at CHBRP
Sam Lau, MPH/MPP candidate
"As a Graduate Health Policy Intern at CHBRP, I was able to gain in-depth experience working on California health policymaking issues. I learned about different facets of state regulated health insurance, the policymaking process, and CHBRP’s unique role in providing non-partisan and evidence-based analysis to the State Legislature. Over the summer, my main project was creating a new resource document on outpatient prescription drug cost sharing. It involved doing detailed research, interviewing content experts, writing for a diverse audience, and simplifying complex cost sharing issues. During my internship I was also able to participate in interviews with stakeholders and update a resource on federal preventive services. Overall, interning at CHBRP was a great opportunity to expand my skills and knowledge and work in an incredibly supportive environment."
Niloufar Nasrollahzadeh, MPP candidate
"As an MPP candidate at UCR’s School of Public Policy, I searched for health policy opportunities that would allow me to learn as a beginner while applying my experiences and skills from my previous roles. As a summer Health Policy intern at CHBRP, I can confidently say that I am on my path to becoming a subject matter expert in the field of health insurance and policy thanks to the wonderful CHBRP staff. I was one of the first interns to complete this internship fully remotely, and am so grateful for being able to continue my internship experience through COVID-19. I had the chance to work on several projects throughout the summer. My primary project was to create a resource on the medical necessity determination process in California. In addition, I updated the Health Insurance Benefit Mandates in California State and Federal Law document by adding additional information on how the existing benefit mandates are applicable to the insurances of Medi-Cal beneficiaries enrolled in DMHC regulated plans. Some smaller projects included working on CHBRP’s social media by posting content on health insurance. I connected with stakeholders and learned how to remain neutral and non-partisan in public policy analysis writing. Overall, this incredible internship at CHBRP has become the foundation of health policy knowledge for me."
Jeffrey Rollman, MPH, PhD candidate
"As a health policy PhD student, I was seeking a research-oriented summer experience outside of the traditional academic setting. I was very fortunate for the opportunity to work with CHBRP as a graduate student summer intern. CHBRP’s role as a neutral and nonpartisan purveyor of evidence-based policy analysis allowed me to see research in action – both at the office in Berkeley and in our many stakeholder meetings in Sacramento. In addition to updating a brief on federal preventive services mandates and crafting a presentation on the state budget, I was tasked with preparing an in-depth brief discussing the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits (EHBs). I became very familiar with federal statutes and regulations as I distilled these in order to explain complicated EHB changes to CHBRP’s audience. As I continue my academic journey in health policy analysis research, I remain grateful for the excellent support, mentorship, and connections I received from CHBRP."
Kyle Navarro, MS Health Policy candidate
"As an MS Health Policy student at the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing, I was looking for an internship that would allow me to engage in the health policy arena. It was a privilege to participate in the graduate student summer internship, which give me a unique opportunity to see how CHBRP crafts evidenced-based policy analysis in cooperation with academic researchers. Scheduling and attending meetings with stakeholders in Sacramento provided an opportunity to build a foundation of understanding around navigating how to discuss policies with nuance and tact. I also became more familiar with the process of maintaining and uploading reports on to online academic databases. My primary project for the summer was to create a document detailing the landscape of social determinants health activity and legislation in California. Overall, this internship experience was valuable and provided me with knowledge I will use to continue on my path in the public health, academic, and policy arenas."
Christie Ahn, MPH candidate
"Working with CHBRP has given me a glimpse into the unique role they hold within the health policy sphere as an independent, evidence-based analysis group for the California Legislature. Not only did I learn about health insurance, benefit mandates, and policymaking, I also practiced skills in facilitation, both quantitative and qualitative analysis, and project management. My primary summer project involved the updating of CHBRP’s approach document for estimating impacts of benefit mandates on racial/ethnic health outcome disparities. I appreciated the opportunity to dive deep into a topic area whilst being given both guidance and independence throughout the duration of the project. As an intern, I was also able to connect with UC faculty and key stakeholders in the Bay Area and Sacramento. My experience as a Health Policy Graduate Intern with CHBRP has been highly valuable and provided me with skills and knowledge that I can build upon as I continue my career in public health."
Ryan Natividad, MPP candidate
"As an MPP candidate of the inaugural, graduate cohort at the UC Riverside School of Public Policy (and a non-native to California), the CHBRP internship allowed me a unique opportunity to learn in-depth about California health policymaking. Since I am familiar with the ACA implementation in New York and how it impacted the state, interning at CHBRP gave me additional perspectives regarding the evolving health policy landscape. During the summer, I drafted documents related to CHBRP’s cost impact analyses and estimates of health insurance sources in California. I also participated in stakeholder meetings with legislative committees, state agencies, and health plans/insurers in Sacramento. My experience at CHBRP is valuable, and the skills I honed during my internship will greatly aid my public health and health policy career."
Victoria Wertz, MS in Health Policy candidate
"I completed my summer internship with CHBRP while a student in the Masters of Science- Health Policy program at UCSF. During my internship I worked with CHBRP staff and faculty to create a brief detailing the continued impacts of implementation of the Affordable Care Act. From this experience, I gained a better understanding of health insurance and health policy at both the state and federal levels. My time at CHBRP also included meeting with various stakeholders from state agencies, legislative staff, and the health insurance industry. CHBRP’s location, within the UC Health Division of the University of California Office of the President, also afforded me unique opportunities including meetings with managers from multiple UC system-wide health initiatives. Overall, this was an incredibly valuable experience!"
Jeni Hagan, PharmD candidate
"As a Graduate Intern with CHBRP, I was encouraged to learn and develop new skills while contributing to a variety of projects with CHBRP staff and faculty. I value the unique role CHBRP has in conducting objective analyses for the California Legislature. Working through an objective lens allowed me to gain a holistic understanding of health insurance and policy. In addition, the structure of the internship balanced mentorship with applying skills to team and independent projects. The projects I worked on created a foundation of health policy knowledge and communication skills that I can build on throughout my career in pharmacy. In particular, my independent project was to produce a white paper on Outpatient Prescription Drugs. The goal of this white paper was to simplify complex pharmacy benefit topics and support CHBRP reports. Overall, this internship is a unique opportunity to learn and work in a supportive environment."
Jessica Hunter, RN, MSN candidate
“I was a CHBRP intern while completing my Master’s of Science degree in Nursing Health Policy at UCSF. CHBRP is an ideal learning environment where interns are encouraged to work closely with faculty members across the UC system in addition to receiving mentorship and guidance from the knowledgeable CHBRP staff. CHBRP is a small team, which provides maximal opportunities for the intern to get involved on various projects and contribute in a meaningful way. It is housed within the UC Office of the President which allows the intern to meet various people in UC Health and gain a broader understanding of how UC Health and UCOP operate. As a graduate intern, my responsibilities included learning to manage projects, giving presentations at faculty meetings, and coordinating/attending stakeholder meetings. My intern project was to work with a group of UC faculty members to research and write a white paper on how exemptions of Medi-Cal from benefit mandate and repeal bills may affect racial/ethnic disparities in California. The CHBRP internship is an excellent way to learn about how health insurance works in California and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in health policy!”
Smita Patil, MPH candidate
"During my summer internship at CHBRP, I worked to create an internal report on how mental health benefits are covered for Medi-Cal managed care beneficiaries, specifically focusing on how coverage was affected by Affordable Care Act implementation. Through this project, I was able to learn more about conducting research, interviewing key stakeholders, writing for a diverse audience, and producing high-quality policy reports. I had a great internship at CHBRP and was able to use the skills and experience I acquired there to find my ideal job of working as a health policy consultant upon graduating from my Master of Public Health (MPH) program."
Chelsea Kelleher, MPP candidate
“My time at CHBRP was enormously helpful for a career in health policy. As a result of my time at CHBRP, I better understood health insurance, the economics of health care, and the landscape of health policy decision-making in California. As part of my internship, I researched similar CHBRP-like organizations across the country, which exposed me to many state and national organizations that are active in health policy. Overall it was a great learning experience!”
Nimit Ruparel, MPP candidate
“I completed my Bachelor of Science in Political Science at Santa Clara University and went on to obtain a Master’s of Public Policy (MPP) from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. During my Master’s program, I completed the CHBRP Health Policy Summer Internship. After finding the internship experience valuable, I extended my role through graduation. During my internship, I worked on several projects including a brief on pediatric dental and vision essential health benefits (EHBs), and an analysis of workplace wellness programs. After completing my Master’s degree, I was hired by CHBRP as a Policy Analyst, where I led the bill analysis for SB 1053 (2014), worked on CHBRP reauthorization, and gained valuable experience to help me continue along my career path.”
Megan Vanneman, PhD candidate
“I was a health policy graduate researcher at CHBRP while I was earning my PhD at UC Berkeley in Health Services & Policy Analysis. I primarily worked on creating two resources -- one on preventive service coverage requirements through the Affordable Care Act and in California policy, and the other on characteristics of states' mandate evaluation programs and their initial work with state-based health insurance exchanges. The internship helped me learn about the complicated dynamic between state and federal policy.”
Stephanie McLeod, MPP candidate
“As a Graduate Health Policy intern with CHBRP, I analyzed and documented the mandate to cover or offer requirements of existing California health insurance benefit mandates, developed a framework of how to determine whether a health insurance benefit mandate supplants another health insurance benefit mandate, and attended legislative hearings on California’s efforts to implement a health benefits exchange. For my project, I wrote a report on how California’s existing health insurance benefit mandates around mammography screening compare against each other, existing federal health insurance benefit mandates, and the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefit coverage requirement.”