Background: Medical education regarding health systems science and health equity is variable, often with limited opportunities for students to apply foundational concepts and skills in quality improvement and health equity. Equipping future hospitalists with critical skills and change frameworks is one way to meet the needs of both patients and health systems.

Purpose: To create an immersive summer internship for rising second year medical students with a formal curriculum and structured mentorship focused on hospital quality, safety, value improvement, and health equity.

Description: Faculty and staff hospital medicine division leaders with expertise in quality, safety, value and health equity developed a curriculum, recruitment strategy, and selection process for the internship. Structured as an 8-week (including vacation) experience, eligible applicants were US medical students (internal and external) then selected through a holistic review process. Interns were expected to engage in at least one project, work closely with an interprofessional team, and pursue opportunities for scholarly dissemination. For the summer of 2023, there were 3 interns with a focus on (1) quality/safety/value, (2) health equity, and (3) both topic areas. They were provided a stipend to cover living expenses during the internship. Interns were also exposed to other facets of academic hospital medicine, including research, medical education, and clinical care. The primary component of the summer internship was involvement in projects within the fields of quality improvement, healthcare value, patient safety, and health equity. Potential mentors and projects were both self-identified and solicited by internship leadership; well-established projects and those with experience mentoring learners were prioritized given the short timeline of the internship. Each intern participated in 2-3 projects, with active mentorship provided throughout the internship. Interns formally presented their work during stakeholder meetings and at Divisional Grand Rounds at the end of their internship and were encouraged to pursue additional scholarly opportunities. Interns were also provided with a structured curriculum exposing them to foundations of quality, safety, value, and health equity. This included a didactic series, self-study, and weekly facilitated discussions. Interns were invited to join other meetings relevant to their interests within hospital medicine and the health system.Since 2019, we have had 9 distinct students participate in the internship. Informal feedback was solicited from 2019-2022; formal program evaluation for both mentors and interns began in 2023.

Conclusions: Summer internships benefited students, hospitalist mentors, and the larger hospital medicine division (Table 1). Students developed meaningful relationships and received time and resources to apply foundational concepts and skills to improve the care of hospitalized patients, equipping them to better work within health systems to contribute to health equity and improvement efforts in their future careers. Mentors benefitted from help advancing project work and improved academic productivity. Sponsoring hospital medicine divisions benefitted through project work, pipeline development, and educational and mentorship opportunities for faculty. Future considerations include increased support for mentors in tailoring projects to fit the 8-week timeline.

IMAGE 1: Table 1. Qualitative Evaluative Comments