Applying for SHARP is a two-stage process. Interested candidates must first submit a Statement of Interest; top candidates will then be invited to complete an employment application and participate in an interview. The 2023 program will run from June 5th through August 11th (accommodations are available for students in the quarter system).

Below is an overview of the application and the timeline. Although you can now save and resume your application,  we still recommend you review the program overview first

1. Applicants will submit their applications on this website with a new Save & Resume function. Interested students will submit a SHARP Statement of Interest form with required materials (see below) by Wednesday, February 1st, 2023 at 5pm for the final application deadline. PLEASE NOTE: After Wednesday, February 1 at 5pm PST we will no longer accept any applications. 

2. Once the Statement of Interest is submitted, students will be given a very brief and anonymous demographic survey which will be used for reporting purposes only.

3. SHARP staff (and in some cases college/university staff) will review the application materials submitted.

4. Top candidates will be invited to formally apply for the program by completing an employment application and participating in a brief phone screen.

5. Finalists will be invited to an interview. Interviews are expected to take place in early April. Interviews with local candidates will take place in person, and interviews with out-of-area candidates will take place over the phone or through a video conferencing program such as Skype or Zoom.

6. SHARP staff will notify students of acceptance into the program (approximately late April).

  • 1. Completed SHARP Statement of Interest (see below)
  • 2. Resume
  • 3. Transcripts from colleges and universities attended after high school (unofficial and photocopies are accepted)
  • 4. One recommendation: please have the person completing your recommendation download and complete the recommendation form: PDF version or Word version. The person giving the recommendation must email it to [email protected]. We will not accept recommendation forms emailed by applicants. All recommendations will be verified by SHARP staff. You will also be required to provide their contact information in your application.

1) One from a professor; OR

2) One from an academic advisor or work supervisor

(Note: A supervisor of an unpaid internship is acceptable, and in some cases, a supervisor of a volunteer experience may also be acceptable. The key is that this person knows you and your work ethic well.


The Statement of Interest includes two short essays with the following prompts:

Statement 1 (800 words):

Please provide a statement that describes the following:

  1. Your academic and career goals related to substance use, public health, and HIV research;
  2. What has inspired you to pursue these goals (e.g., community involvement, volunteer experience, previous experience conducting research, personal/life experiences, etc.);
  3. How this program will help you reach your goals related to substance use, public health, and HIV research; and
  4. Any unique, personally important, and/or challenging factors in your background that have influenced your goals or your academic achievements.

Statement 2 (400 words):

Please pick at least one skill and/or topic area and discuss why it interests you.

-Underserved communities

-Public health leadership


-Scientific writing

-Health disparities

-Graduate or medical school

-Professional development

Frequently Asked Questions

Sample question

  1. What is a typical week look like during the internship?

You’ll spend your time focused on working on your mentored research project, participating in training and collaborating and networking with others.

            Research Project

  • Analyze data from a research project run by your mentor that addresses a research question you’d like to see answered
  • Work with your mentor and other leaders in the program to develop a presentation that you’ll give to your fellow scholars and SFDPH and UCSF team members at the end of the summer during the SHARP Symposium
  • Prepare an abstract to be submitted for presentation at other research seminars or conferences and/or contribute to writing a manuscript describing your research results.


Participate in weekly seminars with other SHARP Scholars on a wide range of interesting topics focused in HIV prevention, behavioral health (including substance use) and racial equity

  • Complete e-Learning activities
  • Shadow clinical and community outreach staff (e.g, at an HIV clinic or syringe services site)

Collaboration and Networking

  • Attend regular mentoring, team and all-staff meetings
  • Participate in networking events with other scholars and faculty
  • Contribute actively to a cohesive team environment
  1. Are there any pre-program assignments?

Yes!  You’ll be encouraged to:

  • Sign up and create profiles on our web-based learning platform
  • Connect with you cohort with a few pre-planned social activities.
  • Complete required online training which you’ll finish when you start the program (e.g, Good Participatory Practices)
  1. What makes for a successful SHARP Scholar?
    • Curious and enthusiastic!
    • Ability to work independently while collaborating effectively with teams
    • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
    • Knowledge of and sensitivity to diverse communities, particularly communities of color and gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender communities and those most affected by HIV
    • Knowledge of and sensitivity to issues related to HIV prevention, HIV care, and stigma and discrimination faced by persons living and affected by HIV
  1. Are international students eligible to apply?
    • Yes! International students are eligible to apply as long as they are legally eligible to work in the U.S. We do not sponsor visas or work authorization permits
  2. Is there a stipend for the interns or is this a volunteer position?
    • SHARP is a paid internship.
  1. Does SHARP provide housing for those who come from outside the Bay Area?
    • We partner with UC Berkeley to offer housing for SHARP scholars and prioritize those who live outside the Bay Area. Meals are not provided as part of this service. We will be following UC Berkeley COVID safety guidelines for room assignment.
  1. Are there post-program activities?
  • All scholars are required to complete program evaluation activities and we have an active alumni group. Mentors work closely with SHARP scholars after the program to develop abstracts and manuscripts for publication.
  1. What resources are available to help interns succeed?
    • SHARP is a multi-component program that supports the success of its scholars. We’ve learned over the past 10 years of the program that our dedicated mentors, fellow scholars, our SHARP staff, and all the resources at the San Francisco department of Public Health and UCSF are key to make for a wonderful SHARP experience.


  1. Are there opportunities for full-time employment or other advancements?
  • There are often several positions at SFDPH, UCSF, and our partner organizations that truly benefit from the expertise our SHARP scholars. We have an excellent track record of scholars joining us as research associates, community engagement specialists, epidemiologists, and even SHARP coordinators! Several of our former scholars have had opportunities to present their work at conferences and get their papers published—all these experiences help scholars very competitive for future jobs and graduate school!



We are currently accepting applications for the SHARP summer 2023 cohort.

If you have questions please email [email protected] and put “SHARP Internship Question” in the subject line of the email.