Quijada selected for prestigious summer post at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Carlos Quijada, a second-year law student at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, has been selected for a prestigious summer internship at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Atlanta.

Quijada will intern in the Office of the General Counsel (OGC), which is the legal team for the Department of Health and Human Services in charge of providing quality representation and legal advice on a wide range of highly visible national issues.

Quijada was selected for one open position out of hundreds of national applicants and learned about the opportunity through a fellowship with the Center for Law and Biomedical Sciences. (LABS). The full-time internship will last 12 weeks.

Carlos Quijada

The OGC supports the development and implementation of HHS’s programs by providing legal services to the Secretary of HHS and the organization’s various agencies and divisions. Quijada will work with the Public Health Division, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (CDC/ATSDR) Branch of the OGC this summer.

OGC is one of the largest law offices in the country with a team of over 400 attorneys and comprehensive staff. OGC advances the HHS mission by working on legal issues related to the following areas, among others: disease outbreak, bio-terrorism, global health programs, minority health, women’s health, environmental health, food safety, privacy of medical records, genetic testing and medical/biological research.

Quijada spoke about his upcoming internship and law school experience in a recent Q&A.

Q: How did you hear about the internship and how does it connect with your future career goals?

A: As a LABS fellow, I regularly receive emails pertinent to Biomedical Sciences and Intellectual Property from the LABS faculty. During the fall semester, I received one such email encouraging the fellows to apply for the Health and Human Services Internship. I immediately contacted Professor Francis and Dean Rinehart for letters of recommendation. With their help, I submitted my application, and four months later I received an invitation to interview. Before my interview, I met with Laura Anne Stetson, attorney for the University of Utah General Counsel (and former LABS fellow) because she had been selected for the internship a few years back and wanted her insight into the position.

I am excited about the internship because it connects directly with my future career goals. I came to law school specifically to work in Health Law, and I am hoping that this learning opportunity will further my legal skills and lead to opportunities in the health law field.

Q: Describe your background. What drew you to law school?

A: When I was 17, I left Venezuela due to the political turmoil there. My formative years in a developing country shaped my character and interest in public service. I moved to the U.S. and worked for several years to save enough money so that I could afford college. Like other college students without financial support, I worked three jobs while attending the University of Florida. Science and Health had always been a passion of mine so I majored in Biology and then pursued a Master’s in Public Health. It was during my MPH externship in the Island of Saba that I felt the calling to come to law school. While there, it was visible that the lack of regulatory protections was preventing the Public Health Department from implementing the necessary Public Health measures. I understood how important it is to have a useful health policy framework and realized I needed to get a legal education. I chose S.J. Quinney because I knew I wanted a law school with smaller class size and I had been interested in moving out West.

Q: What is next for you after graduation?

A: After graduation (in 2019), I will keep pursuing my goal of improving the lives of others by contributing to health policy reforms. My ideal job would be working for the Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control, Pan American Health Organization, or for Non-Governmental agencies such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. All these agencies are working to improve the health of the population and have the clout and resources to impact meaningful change.