When looking to start your career, you consider the type of work involved, but do you consider the greater impact of the work itself?
The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke, and the organization is now in its 100th year. Working with over 35 million volunteers and supporters, the non-profit Association makes a real impact with its focus on cardiovascular and overall health, saving millions of lives.
Heart disease and stroke are the two leading causes of death worldwide, and for survivors, they can diminish the quality of life. The Association’s mission is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives, by funding innovative research (more than $5 billion to date), advocating for the public’s health, and sharing lifesaving resources, with a focus on ensuring equitable health in all communities.
The American Heart Association has strong tailored early career programs for people to pursue their goals, such as their internship program, the Scholars program, and HeartCorps, the Association’s public health AmeriCorps program.
Employees at the Association join the organization from varied backgrounds. Some bring experience from major corporations, some recently finished their education, and some are transitioning from the military. No matter your entry point, the Association is a strong and meaningful place to start, build, or grow your career.
The Internship Program
The American Heart Association’s structured internship program offers interns opportunities within many departments. The organization is committed to provide students with real-time, meaningful experiences to learn about and assist with the work done there.
The internships span across different disciplines, such as Operations, Fundraising, Marketing, Health Strategies, and Science and Research. Dion Bart, a Communications Intern who later joined the American Heart Association full-time, talked about his experience as an intern, touching on the structure, supportive environment, opportunities for growth, inclusive company culture and the importance of voicing opinions and asking for help in order to succeed.
Dion’s work as an intern included creating and implementing a communications and social media plan for a major event (Heart Walk). He gained firsthand experience of what a communications director does, which helped position himself for a full-time job at the American Heart Association.
Another intern, Sha’Dasia Reynolds, began as an intern in Community Impact and extended her internship in Human Resources with University Relations. Through her work in two different departments, she gained even more valuable experience and understanding of what it is like to work at the Association. Now, she is taking what she learned as an intern and providing feedback to make the internship experience even better.
Darjé Bennett talked about her experience transitioning from the military and into the American Heart Association. She expressed her gratitude for how the organization –– and especially the mentors –– helped her re-enter the civilian workforce. As she began her internship, she discovered how her military experience translated into real-life work experience.
Darjé was another intern who was able to transition into a full-time position at the Association. She also shared how supportive the Association has been for her as a working mom, providing her with flexibility. For more information about The American Heart Association’s careers, look here.
WayUp also spoke with Christen Lawrence, an HBCU graduate from Miles College, who interned with the American Heart Association following her participation as an HBCU Scholar. As part of its comprehensive work toward building equitable health, the American Heart Association has partnered with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI), and other accredited colleges to help students earn professional degrees in the biomedical and health sciences. These scholar programs at the organization provide an experience over an academic year that focuses on research methodologies as well as the social impact caused by health disparities and inequities.
Being a scholar gave Christen valuable research opportunities, addressed representation in the workplace, and emphasized the value of mental well-being and career development all of which helped her build confidence as a young professional. She spoke highly of that opportunity and how it provided her with valuable networking opportunities and sparked her interest in becoming an intern with the Association.
The exposure to leadership at company events helped increase networking skills, which paid off for Christen as she accepted a full-time role after completing her internship.
Beyond the standard internship program, the Association has the HeartCorps program, launched in partnership with AmeriCorps. HeartCorps is a public health AmeriCorps service program where members gain valuable professional public health experience while advancing more equitable health outcomes for rural communities.
WayUp spoke with Janninah Miller, a current HeartCorps member, about her experience. Janninah serves with a Health Center and works on community health assessment projects and helped address food insecurity and transportation issues. She shared how the HeartCorps program gave her valuable experience toward her long-term career goals.
For students interested in public health, the HeartCorps program is a great one to explore during your early career development. For information about HeartCorps, contact them at HeartCorps@heart.org.
Career Development Opportunities
As shown above, many interns are given opportunities to extend their internship or join the organization full-time, and praised the program for how well it was structured to provide them with a meaningful experience.
Tips for the internship interview process? Former interns noted the interviews are conversational and suggest being true to yourself and asking questions, so candidates show their authentic selves. Many interns also discussed why they wanted to work in the non-profit sector.
The American Heart Association fosters career opportunities for early career professionals who are looking to start or continue their career. Whether you’re looking for a full-time, part-time, or internship role, there are various roles at the American Heart Association that you can explore.
Notably, the American Heart Association was recognized on the Forbes 2023 list of America’s Best Midsize Employers. The AHA also earned a top spot on DiversityInc’s 2023 lists of Top Hospitals and Health Systems, Top Companies for Board of Directors, and Noteworthy Companies. The organization has also been named a Leading Disability Employer for the fourth consecutive year, by the National Organization on Disability (NOD). Working for an established organization has many benefits, including professional opportunities. Employees have access to HeartU, which offers state-of-the-art online training courses to enhance career development.
WayUp is here to help you navigate your career ambitions. If you are interested in applying for an internship or exploring open positions, you can learn more on WayUp’s page here.
Source: Employer - wayup.com