There’s only a few days left for your health care organization to sign up to participate in this year’s Institute for Diversity in Health Management (IFD) Summer Enrichment Program (SEP).

The SEP – an intensive 10-week, paid, full-time internship – provides talented, diverse graduate students and early-career professionals with invaluable training and mentoring from an experienced health care leader, as well as experiential learning and networking that exposes them to the inner workings of health care organizations and the field.

Research has shown that diverse teams and inclusive work environments lead to better patient care, help resolve tough problems, innovate new strategies and improve employee engagement. Investing in the development of the next generation of health care leaders can help an organization achieve its talent management and quality goals.  

Since its inception in 1994, more than 1,200 students have participated in the SEP. Many former SEP participants now hold senior leadership and board positions at organizations across the country.

For example, while serving as an SEP intern in 2012 at Lakeland Regional Health, Jesse Dang, helped uncover more than $6 million in electronic health record incentive payments for his hospital. Dang has continued his career at Lakeland Regional Health and now serves as a senior management consultant focused on improvement efforts.

“SEP has had a huge impact on my career,” says Dang. “During my internship, I was able to experience the daily life of a health care executive, even getting to attend board meetings, and had the opportunity to put my training to use in a few different projects.”

Dang would recommend any health care organization participate in the SEP.

“The interns are very eager to get some real-world experience, and your organization gets access to talented early-career professionals – it’s a mutually beneficial relationship,” says Dang.

The IFD this year expanded the SEP so that more young careerists can participate in these internships and more health care organizations can access quality talent. The IFD and one of our founding members, the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), entered into a strategic alliance to jointly promote the program.

Working closely with ACHE, we have developed plans and processes that we believe will allow the SEP to open the health management door to many more individuals and set them on a path to becoming the next generation of health care leaders.

Hospitals, health systems and other health care organizations that are interested in hosting an SEP intern in 2017 should register now as there are limited graduate students available. The Institute staff will work with organizations to match SEP students with host sites for internships to take place from June through August.

To learn how your organization can participate in the program, visit www.diversityconnection.org/SEP or contact Jasmin Clark, IFD membership and educational specialist, at ifd-sep@aha.org or (312) 422-2658.  

Tomás León is the president and CEO of the Institute for Diversity in Health Management, which is an AHA affiliate.