Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Office of the Secretary

Internship Location: Madison, WI

Organization Type: State Government

Policy Areas: Health

This summer I interned at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) in the Office of the Secretary. DHS is one of the largest state agencies with over 6,000 employees and a budget of approximately $15 billion. DHS is comprised of multiple offices and numerous divisions, all of which are overseen by the Office of the Secretary. Over the course of the internship, I rotated between the policy team, legislative affairs team, communications team, external affairs team, and the executive team which included shadowing the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and the Assistant Deputy Secretary. The rotation design allowed me to explore the different roles and responsibilities within the Office, and better understand how they work with the different divisions and offices to ensure progress is being made with public health throughout the state. I had different projects to work on within each rotation which provided insight into the type of work being done. For example, while working with the communications team, I researched different social media practices and found examples of other government agencies at both the local, state, and federal level that were engaging and successful in sharing information in a digestible manner with the public. This is important because the work of the agency is only as successful if it’s reaching all Wisconsinites. While I was working with the policy team, I researched Medicaid expansion and possible benefits for the economy and job market. This research was then being used to help re-frame the argument in favor of expanding Medicaid coverage in Wisconsin. This internship helped me better understand the role a state agency plays in enacting and guiding policy creation, as well as the implementation and evaluation process. Throughout this internship, I strengthened my research and communication skills, and also expanded my knowledge on health policy which I didn’t have much experience in prior to this summer.