Field Work Term, Institutional News, Local Impact

Announcing Population Health Fellowship with SVMC

This winter, Bennington College and Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) will offer six students fully-paid, health-related internship opportunities as part of the inaugural Population Health Fellowship. Population health transforms the healthcare model— in thinking about healthcare from seeing patients only when they are sick, to partnering with people to address their social, environmental, and economic issues before they become sick. 

Photo of SVMC campus

This Fellowship brings together Bennington College and SVMC—two anchor institutions in the Bennington region—to the benefit of students, the hospital, and the community.

“This partnership is a unique opportunity for students to gain real-world experience in transforming healthcare,” said Jim Trimarchi, Director of Planning for SVMC. “SVMC and the wider Bennington community will benefit from the ideas, creativity, and energy these students will bring to one of the largest challenges of our time.”

During Field Work Term, Bennington College’s annual internship experience, each Fellow will work closely in their specific focus areas, including Information Technology, Finance and Communications, Transitional Care, Blueprint for Health (Opioid Response & Social Determinants of Health), RiseVT (Community Health), and Nutrition & Food Security, under the mentorship of a member of SVMC’s Population Health team. 

“We’re thrilled for this new expansion of the College’s collaboration with SVMC,” said Faith McClellan, Associate Dean of Work-Integrated Learning at Bennington College. “The Population Health Fellowship will expand access to paid healthcare internships, meeting a key student need while supporting important work in the local community.”

For SVMC, this fellowship would allow each member of the Population Health team to benefit from the support of a dedicated intern, while providing opportunities to meet as a cohort in order to discuss new ideas and brainstorm departmental initiatives.

Although Bennington College’s literature, visual arts, and theatre programs have historically been its most popular areas of study, science and mathematics are the fastest-growing sector of student field work interest, which represented 11% of students’ 2019 internships. Of this sector, a growing population of Bennington students are keenly interested in healthcare experiences.

Connection with Food Insecurity Research

The Population Health Fellowship will also work in tandem with Bennington College’s three-year collaboration to address the systemic causes of food insecurity in Bennington County, in which SVMC is a key partner.

The College’s food insecurity research is funded by a $1 million Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, which includes stipends for five students to complete paid internships with local partner organizations, including SVMC, Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union, and Greater Bennington Interfaith Community Services.

One of the six Population Health Fellows will be supported by the Mellon Foundation grant and will have the unique opportunity to be part of both cohorts. Between the Mellon Foundation and SVMC partnerships, Bennington College will have 10 students at work in fully-paid public health-related internships in the local community this winter.

Local Impact, Partnerships, and Equity

Over the past 6 years, during Bennington College's annual Field Work Term, Bennington students have worked for 94 Vermont businesses and not-for-profits, including 50 in the Bennington area, contributing over 42,000 hours of work. Local and regional employers include Bennington Project Independence, Green Writers Press, Mount Anthony Union High School, the Vermont Arts Exchange, the Vermont State House, MASS MoCA, and more.

This Population Health Fellowship will include regularly scheduled convenings of fellows and supervisors, leveraging the cohort-based model similar to the College’s highly effective Museum Fellows Term and Lucille Lortel Foundation Fellowships in Theatre, combined with an apprenticeship-like mentorship structure that gives students up-close exposure to specific career paths in population health. 

Employers interested in partnering with Bennington College to offer Field Work Term positions in their organization are encouraged to visit the Recruit Bennington webpage for more information or to contact Sarah Clader, Assistant Director for Employer Relations, at