Summer Internship Experience at USU's CGHE

Summer Internship Experience at USU's CGHE

This summer, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences’ (USU) Center for Global Health Engagement (CGHE) hosted five student interns as part of the Center’s ongoing education initiative. This hands-on experience exposes students to the Department of Defense’s (DoD) role in global health engagement and humanitarian assistance. Interns work primarily as research assistants across CGHE’s many active divisions and programs. The professional and scholastic opportunities provided are intended to equip each class of interns with the tools to think globally and further develop and refine their skills in preparation for future careers in the global health sphere.

This year’s class worked on a variety of projects across all five divisions at CGHE. Mohamed Shalan said he most enjoyed the diversity of experiences during his time at CGHE from immediate tasks to longer-term projects. “The blend of the two gave me an incredibly unique perspective into the different avenues in which I can explore global health and its engagement,” he added. Susan Buckenmaier worked with the Training and Professional Development Division and was able to attend the Global Health Strategies for Security (GHSS) course, which was attended by global health experts from the U.S. and abroad. “I learned so much about the direction of global health and how various governmental organizations are working towards integrating this important strategy into different missions,” Susan said.

A key component of the internship experience was the creation of a learning environment through weekly brown bag lunches. Every Thursday, the interns invited a public health professional from USU and CGHE to speak on topics ranging from global animal health to disaster response to cultural concepts.

Interns also had the opportunity to present to CGHE staff on a topic of their choice, which included:

  • Risk Communication in Public Health
  • Global Health Security: A Case Study of Yellow Fever in Central Africa
  • Trends in Statistics that Influence HIV/AIDS Prevalence Data: Rape Rate and Differences in Alcohol Consumption
  • Mental Health in War-torn Countries: A Focus on the Biological Basis of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • The Humanitarian Crisis in Syria

Another aspect of the internship was the opportunity to attend USU’s Summer Operational Experience (SOE). During this two-week experience the interns, alongside rising second-year medical students, participated in three courses – CGHE’s Fundamental of Global Health Engagement (FOGHE) course, USAID’s Joint Humanitarian Operations Course (JHOC) and USU’s Military Medical Humanitarian Assistance Course (MMHAC). FOGHE focused on learning about the strategic, operational and civil-military aspects of global health engagements. JHOC presented the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance’s role in disasters worldwide and how and when the U.S. military gets involved. MMHAC provided information on the more clinical aspects of DoD global health. These courses blended group projects with lectures from professionals with a variety of backgrounds and subject matter expertise.

cghe soe

Final day of SOE, including group presentations and a potluck lunch.

This summer’s CGHE intern class also had the opportunity to tour the USU Val G. Hemming Simulation Center (SimCenter) which included a look at human patient simulators, task trainers, simulated patient exam rooms and the Wide Area Virtual Environment (WAVE). Commenting on these experiences, Farah Almiree said: “As someone who is interested in pursuing a medical career, participating in the SOE at USU as well as visiting the SimCenter have been great opportunities to meet medical school students and to get exposed to their training and their experience in the field”.

Overall, the summer internship experience served as an excellent introduction to DoD Global Health Engagement for these future global health professionals. Tim Faerber, an intern with the Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation Division, summed up the intern experience best saying, “I learned how health can be used as a chip to achieve a nation’s political goals in the international theater and just how much goes into planning humanitarian aid/disaster relief efforts”.

For more information on our summer internship program, contact us at

cghe sim
Wide Area Virtual Environment (WAVE) at the SimCenter.