Arushi Ishwar '24 Selected for SAMHSA Summer Diversity Internship
The pre-med psychology major and health studies minor is one of only 22 students selected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for their summer internship.
Arushi Ishwar '24 is one of 22 undergraduate and graduate students selected for this year’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Summer Diversity Internship. The 10-week, federally funded internship, which is designed to prepare students from underrepresented populations for careers in public health, provides practical experience at the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts advancing the behavioral health of the nation.
“I applied for this internship because I have always been passionate about public health and especially the field of mental health,” said the psychology major and health studies minor. “Mental health is one of the most stigmatized topics in the United States today, yet almost everyone faces mental health issues each day. Without agencies such as SAMHSA working to improve and widen mental health treatment, the struggles that millions of Americans face each day will continue to be ignored.”
Though the internship is usually held in SAMHSA's Rockville, MD, offices, due to continued COVID-19 precautions, this year, it will be virtual. Ishwar will complete her work from her Media, PA, home and attend virtual meetings with her supervisors. Ishwar’s assignment is with the special assistant to the director of the Center of Mental Health Services, and she will focus on current mental health initiatives under the director’s purview.
“One of the main tasks of the internship involves tracking current Congressional legislation related to mental health,” she said. “Also, other tasks include drafting blogs for mental health and wellness, which are accessible to underserved or target populations. Overall, the internship will focus on mental and behavioral health initiatives currently being developed in the Center for Mental Health Services surrounding topics such as child trauma treatment, homeless services, children’s mental health services, and suicide prevention.”
Ishwar, who is on the pre-med track at Haverford, is passionate about mental healthcare and is planning to make a career in it. This summer, she is particularly keen to learn about the ways SAMHSA is working to destigmatize the topic of mental health and how the agency conducts outreach to crucial populations, such as children or people experiencing homelessness.
“My studies at Haverford … have taught me many of the reasons why mental health burdens are far greater on certain populations, based on factors such as the built environment, structural racism, classism, and poverty,” she said. “I hope to use all the skills that I have learned so far through my studies of mental health and apply them meaningfully when working with real Congressional legislation and assisting in the development of government-based mental health initiatives that can truly make a difference in the lives of Americans.”