Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program

by justineh

PICS Organization Name
Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program


Boston, Massachusetts

Weekly Stipend

Public Transportation

Housing Provided

Former Interns
Gavin Hall '18, Mikaela Gerwin '19, Jamie Fan '17

Organization Description
Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) is committed to a singular, powerful mission—to provide and assure access to the highest quality health care for Boston’s homeless men, women and children. BHCHP maintains strong ties with the medical community, operating daily hospital-based primary care clinics for homeless patients on the campuses of Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Medical Center. In addition, BHCHP’s multi-disciplinary teams deliver direct medical, dental and behavioral health services to homeless men, women, and children in over 80 unconventional locations – in shelters and soup kitchens, under bridges, along back alleys, and even behind the backstretch barns of a local thoroughbred racetrack. BHCHP also runs a unique 104-bed medical respite program that provides sophisticated, round-the-clock medical and nursing care for homeless individuals when they are too sick for shelters or the street but not in need of a costly inpatient hospital stay.   

BHCHP has been fortunate to host a Princeton intern for the past seven summers and their contributions to the agency have been numerous. First and foremost, our Princeton interns have allowed us to truly expand the amount of work that can be accomplished by our Institute of Research, Quality and Policy. With multiple research projects in progress, having an intern enables us to dedicate the time and resources to projects that would not otherwise be possible. It is also valuable to have a fresh perspective when conducting research. Our previous interns have done a remarkable job learning about the various elements of our program and applying that knowledge when making suggestions for the direction of the projects. Finally, having an intern “forces” our program to be more introspective and deliberate about our approach and methodology. This is beneficial for an intern whom we want to teach and mentor, but also allows our busy program to take a step back and consider the “big picture” and the finer details of our research.

Internship Description 
Internships are most often structured to combine a variety of service experiences and program team/sites. Whenever possible, we look to provide balance in our internships by assigning individuals to roles that involve both patient contact in clinical settings and work that is administrative in nature. 

We anticipate the PICS intern will work with our Street Team and Research Team, as well as other departments that identify a need or a summer project. The actual project will be determined after the student is selected based on their interests and skills.

Previous PICS interns have worked on our Research, Hep C, and Street Teams.

Internship Qualifications

  • Experience with marginalized communities, particularly individuals experiencing homelessness
  • Able to communicate effectively to a variety of audiences
  • Has experience using Office applications – word, excel, powerpoint 
  • Outgoing and personable character recommended
  • Spanish is helpful, not required

Expected Start Time
9:00 am

Expected End Time
5:00 pm

Required Dates

Internship Length
10 Weeks

Meets Certificate Requirement
Yes, Global Health Policy 

Additional Info
Before intern can start she or he must submit:

  • Immunization records 
  • Application 
  • CORI background check

Volunteer orientation required. There might be some shadowing opportunities at night, but no other work required.

With a lot of colleges in the Boston area, there may be opportunities to sublet spaces for the summer months. Many of our interns and AmeriCorps members have had success using Craigslist to find good options. We suggest folks explore the following neighborhoods for sub-lets: Allston, Brighton, Roxbury, JP, and Brookline.

BHCHP offers a limited number of unpaid (non-Masters level) internships throughout the year. Individuals can explore a career in medicine, public health or human services at BHCHP while gaining experience and in-depth learning in one or more areas of homeless medicine, including: walk-in medical clinics, adult respite care, and medical office administration.

BHCHP offers interns three to five "brown bag lunch" seminars during the summer, featuring staff speakers from various program teams and sites. These are designed to further enhance each intern’s education around homelessness and health care.

Evaluation Excerpt

The strengths of BHCHP include incredible compassion and support within the organization and even between departments, regardless of the level of one's position. I've never met a professional group of people who care about one another as genuinely and thoroughly as BHCHP, and I think this level of support translates to genuine and effective care of patients as well.
—Jaimie Fan '17

In the same country, the same city and sometimes the same room, two people with radically different life paths pass each-other. The doctor and the homeless patient. The doctor with his Harvard credentials who has become famous from doing good, hard work for the people... We have seen these lives cross paths over and over again this summer in radical, incredible ways. My internship met both those goals of social change and education in showing me how to walk in another's shoes as I crossed paths with them.
—Mikaela Gerwin '19

To see whether this internship is still accepting applications for 2018, please check the Second Round page.


To read evaluations written by former interns, please contact the
Student Program