Description: Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) is linked to increased risk for childhood obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and tooth decay. The negative impact of SSB consumption in childhood and adolescence may lead to chronic health problems in adulthood. HIPHI works with its partners to advocate for public policies to reduce consumption of SSBs in Hawai‘i, prevent childhood obesity, and promote healthy habits throughout the lifespan. The Policy and Advocacy Intern will coordinate the Healthy Keiki campaign. This campaign aims to raise awareness about the health impact of consuming sugary drinks, and, to educate the public about marketing tactics used by beverage industry in Hawai‘i. The intern will work closely with HIPHI staff, community coalition partners, state agencies, and the media to garner grassroots support for policies and initiatives around reducing both consumption of SSBs and childhood obesity in Hawai‘i. During the internship, the intern will develop and enhance analytical/assessment, policy development, community, communication, and leadership competencies: organize and implement targeted community education campaigns and community action plans; research current and past SSB legislative and marketing/counter-marketing campaigns; educate communities through public presentations, meetings, earned media, and social media; expand community support base; coordinate submission of op-eds to media outlets; create policy collaterals (fact sheets, policy briefs, etc.), and assist in drafting and providing legislative testimony.

Location: Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawai’i. 850 Richards Street, #201 Honolulu, HI 96813

Timeline: January 2019 – May 2019 for the paid portion of the internship. The student may extend their internship to end in January 2020, although the intern will need to continue on as an unpaid intern after May 2019.


Required: Graduate level student in Hawai‘i, pursuing a degree in public health or a public health-related field such as nursing, education, social work, or psychology. HIPHI seeks a community-driven, motivated intern who has some knowledge about public health initiatives such as Farm to School, and with an interest in gardening/agriculture, childhood development, peace initiatives and wellness. The intern must be open to learning new skills and concepts, and open to receiving feedback from mentors/supervisors.

The intern must demonstrate:

  • leadership skills;
  • critical thinking skills;
  • strong written and verbal skills;
  • ability to develop professional relationships - to build strong rapport with community members, stakeholders, and schools;
  • comfortable with public speaking;
  • strong organizational skills and project management skills;
  • ability to multi-task.

It is preferable if the student has facilitation skills with experience planning and coordinating community meetings and/or events. Grant writing or report writing experience are ideal but not required. A valid driver’s license and access to a vehicle is preferred; or ability to use public transportation. Intern should be able to travel to schools on O’ahu with personal vehicle or via public transportation. There is potential for the intern to travel to the neighbor islands and therefore must be able to travel inter-island as well.


Hawaiʻi Public Health Institute (HIPHI) grew out of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i (CTFH) founded in 1996, in response to a growing call among community stakeholders for a public health organization with a broader focus on health. In 2012, HIPHI expanded its mission beyond tobacco use to address health disparities and increase healthy eating and active living among residents. HIPHI advances policy, systems, and environmental change to make Hawai‘i the healthiest place to live. Since 2016, HIPHI has been administering the Obesity Prevention Task Force (OPTF) in partnership with the State Department of Health and the Hawai‘i Primary Care Association. Created by the legislature in 2012, the OPTF is comprised of over 60 organizations and agencies and works to make recommendations to reshape Hawaii's school, work, community, and health care environments, making healthier lifestyles obtainable for all Hawai‘i residents. HIPHI’s main office is in Honolulu, O‘ahu with staff members and local coalitions on Maui, Kauai and Hawai‘i Island. HIPHI has state and local coalitions supporting its tobacco prevention efforts and Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) initiatives.


Trish La Chica (Policy & Advocacy Director): Prior to joining HIPHI in January 2016, Trish worked in the Hawai‘i State Governor’s Office to develop the State Health Care Innovation Plan to help improve health systems performance, increase quality of care, and decrease costs for the residents of Hawai‘i. Trish has more than ten years of experience working on both state and federal policy solutions in public health, advocating particularly for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. Trish earned her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco and received her B.A. from the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. She is currently earning her certification in Healthcare Analytics from the University of California, Davis.

For more information about this internship email

Start Date
Spring semester
Fall semester
Summer semester
Hawai'i Public Health Institute
Project Focus
Childhood Obesity