The first cohort of Savannah State University HCA Healthcare interns appear with HCA executives, SSU Interim President Cynthia Robinson Alexander, Dr. Otis Johnson, and State Rep. Edna Jackson.

Savannah State University and HCA Healthcare Begin Major Strategic Partnership with Paid Internship Program

Press Release from Savannah State University: HCA Healthcare will provide enriched opportunities for top Master of Social Work students.

Savannah State University (SSU) and HCA Healthcare South Atlantic Division announced a strategic partnership on Wednesday, June 26 at Savannah State University. The partnership between Savannah State University and HCA Healthcare is designed to create robust educational pathways for students pursuing careers in healthcare. This collaboration will address critical workforce needs in the healthcare industry.

HCA Healthcare is giving $650,000 to Savannah State University to support a paid internship program for students pursuing a master’s degree in social work. These students have the opportunity to compete for the paid internship, and top candidates will be selected as winners. 

Savannah State University is working with HCA to ensure the interns have an opportunity to learn from a licensed professional assigned to them, to work a dedicated caseload, and gain real-world experience for their field of study allowing the theoretical knowledge obtained in the classroom to be used in practical experience. The internship will deepen the intern’s preparation more broadly through working in a professional environment, honing interpersonal and other soft skills.

Funds from this gift will go towards paid internships for two Master of Social Work cohorts over four years that will help students complete the required 900 clinical hours needed for their degree at Memorial Health University Medical Center. Through the cohort, students will have access to job shadowing opportunities and mentors through HCA Healthcare. This gift will also provide a stipend for a preceptor for the program, who will serve as a liaison between Memorial Health University Medical Center and SSU.

“At Savannah State University, we are deeply committed to fostering strong, impactful partnerships that enhance the educational experiences of our students and serve our community,” said Cynthia Robinson Alexander, J.D., interim president of Savannah State University. “Our collaboration with HCA Healthcare is a shining example of this commitment. This partnership between our esteemed social work program and the hospital allows our students to gain invaluable hands-on experience while contributing to the well-being of patients and their families. Together, we are building a brighter, healthier future for our community.”

For the first cohort, four students have an opportunity to perform their Field Internship at the HCA Memorial Health Center. They go through an extensive training period sponsored by the hospital educational services before they are assigned to the hospital. The Interns are given the opportunity to rotate to multiple areas of the hospital which enhances their ability to provide social services for patients who need assistance throughout the medical system. 

The first Savannah State Students selected are:

  • Tammesha Jones
  • Sheronda Phillips
  • Gloria Rodriguez
  • Mikela Melton
The program is led by Dr. Teneka Miles and the Master of Social Work Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education designed to prepare students for entry into advanced social work practice.

About Savannah State University:

Established in 1890, Savannah State University is the first public historically black college and university in Georgia and the first institution of higher learning in the city of Savannah. Students select majors from 30 undergraduate and five graduate programs in four colleges — Business Administration, Education, Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and Sciences and Technology. Learn more by visiting

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