With the support of the Public Health Summer Research Grant, I was able to continue my research into developing a smoke-free policy for Muhlenberg, a project I began working on during the Spring 2017 semester with Professor Cronin. Over the summer, I analyzed and interpreted the data collected from nearly 500 members of the College community, including students, faculty and staff. With that data, I prepared presentations and fact sheets that will be essential in implementing the strategy, if it is approved. Additionally, I spent countless hours speaking with health promotion representatives at colleges and universities across the country to collect best practices for implementation and enforcement. Above all, I am looking forward to utilizing the products of my summer research as I begin meeting with College decision-makers, while also continuing to educate our community about the risks of smoking and secondhand smoke exposure.
This past summer I had the opportunity to conduct summer research through the Muhlenberg College Public Health Department. My research was entitled “Utilizing a Social Network Approach to Explore Alcohol Use and Hooking up Among a Sorority” and focused on the relationship between alcohol use and an increased vulnerability for hookups to occur among college students. It has become clear that social experiences play a huge role in an individual's college experience, and for many, college life includes creating a social circle which is often times facilitates by drinking alcohol. The relationship between alcohol use and hooking up is important to examine in order to further our understanding of how to properly implement interventions that could combat the serious health related consequences that sometimes accompany these casual sexual encounters. For my research I collected and analyzed qualitative and quantitative data that was gathered through a survey and then went on to create sociograms based off that data. By looking into an individual's social network ties we are able to get a better understanding of the population that is most at risk of the serious health consequences that can accompany alcohol use and casual sexual encounters. I am hoping that this research will lead prevention programs to take a closer look at social network ties in order to create more effective programing. Through this experience and with the help of my faculty advisor Dr.Burger, I was able to learn how to collect and analyze data, conduct a thorough literature review, operate data analyses systems such as SPSS and UCINET, and so much more. My experience this summer definitely helped me grow as a student and I am looking forward to applying my acquired knowledge in my future career.
Over the summer I had the opportunity to be an intern at the Princeton Health Department in Princeton, NJ. The main purpose for my internship was to help prepare the staff and get the department ready for when the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) visits. I was assisting the Princeton Health Department for a Public Health Accreditation site visit in the following months. I was in charge of creating a preparation plan for the Department. PHAB’s public health department accreditation process seeks to advance quality and performance within public health departments. Accreditation standards define the expectations for all public health departments that seek to become accredited. I would prepare PowerPoints weekly for the staff and present them in meetings so that the staff was being educated on the process of accreditation. The other jobs I had was to make checklists for the department, prepare letters to send to our community partners, and governing body. I also prepared questions that PHAB may ask the staff upon arrival as well as I prepared questions for our governing body, including preparing questions for our community partners. In addition to preparing the community partners and governing body, I also had to inform the staff on important documents that PHAB would be specifically looking at such as the Community Health Assessment (CHA), Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), and Quality Improvement Plan (QI), just to name a few. I learned a lot from my time at the health department. Learning about how long the process is for a health department to get accredited was extremely interesting to be a part of. I’m glad I could have this opportunity. This internship has been an amazing opportunity to learn how a health department works daily involving public health issues.
Over the summer, I interned with Rwanda Biomedical Center in Kigali, Rwanda. RBC is the implementing branch of the Rwandan ministry of health; It has multiple divisions but I interned within the maternal, child and community health department. The work at RBC is divided between office work and field work, however, the biggest part of my internship was field work. My work revolved around the vaccination unit, community health unit and health facilities unit. Throughout this summer, I was able to work through different projects such as monitoring and evaluating different health centers in different districts around Rwanda, following up on the cold chain supply within vaccination centers and other vaccination storages, following up on the nationwide hepatitis vaccination campaign, and training community health workers around the country on family planning and neo-natal care. Additionally, I also had the opportunity to attend different training and meetings on health campaigns and projects through partners such as WHO, UNICEF and JHpiego. This was an amazing opportunity for me because it was a glimpse of what I could do as a career. After graduation, I plan to apply the knowledge I have learnt and make an impactful change in maternal and child health care.
This summer I had the privilege of interning for Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA). PANA is dedicated to the inclusion of refugees through the lens of public policy. While there are many existing organizations that provide services for refugees (food, clothing, etc), PANA focuses on developing and fighting for policy that integrates refugees on an institutional level, including them into very fabric of society. This organization is centered in my home town (San Diego, California) so I learned more about my community, the people’s needs, and local politics. As a Public Health and Political Science double major, this organization was the perfect way to merge my studies and passions, and observe the intersection of health and policy. I spearheaded social media, which required lots of research and learning about refugee struggles, the importance of affordable housing, the necessity to speak English in order to advocate for your needs, perceptions of refugees, and much more. Most importantly, this experience reaffirmed my love for refugee work, my passion for public health, the importance for meaningful policy, and the potential for change when people come together.
This summer I interned at the Montgomery County Health Department in Norristown, Pennsylvania in the Division of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention. The Montgomery County Health Department provides surveillance, control and prevention of 74 reportable diseases and conditions. Using PA-NEDDS, I took cases following up with patients and providers regarding sexually transmitted diseases, Lyme disease, gastro-enterics, and rabies control. I was able to work alongside my co-workers as a Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) on the communicable disease team. I also worked on a project to create an eye-catching and informative Tick and Lyme Disease flyer which was posted on all of the trail systems in Montgomery County. The flyer was shared on their website as well as on the county’s social media platforms. This was something I was very proud to have created as it was met with positive feedback. Using my creative eye, I created educational materials for National HIV Testing Day, Sexual Health Awareness Month, and two different sexual health outreach days. For National HIV Testing Day, I developed a social media post schedule for the county’s Facebook and Twitter page along with a flyer for the county to use. Another assignment I worked on was an influenza data clean-up project. I had to go through influenza cases from this past flu season using PA-NEDDS and Epi Info, a CDC database. I then had to determine if it was a probably, suspect, or confirmed influenza case. With my co-workers I had the opportunity to attended a health fair where we represented Montgomery County Health Department and I attended a Zika conference in Philadelphia. This internship allowed me to develop more personal and professional confidence while giving me the knowledge to more specifically guide my future public health endeavors.
Over the summer, I interned for United States Congressman Tom MacArthur and New Jersey State Senator Dawn Marie Addiego. For Congressman MacArthur, I researched agent orange in the Korean Demilitarized Zone, the pinelands pipeline, and the effects radiation had on military dental technicians in 1970. I also summarized numerous bills and laws. In addition, I responded to concerned constituents regarding various issues. Senator Addiego gave me the opportunity to attend voting sessions and the state budget hearing at the State House in Trenton. She also invited me to numerous political events. At Senator Addiego’s office, I handled constituent affairs and bill comments. Both of my internships this summer gave me a hands-on experience as well as the chance to network. I was able to participate in the behind the scenes work on both federal and state levels. As a double major in Political Science and Public Health with a minor in Mathematics, I am grateful for these internships and the opportunity to work in my fields of study.
Thanks to Muhlenberg’s Office of Community Engagement Internship Program, I spent my summer right here in Allentown working as the Health Center Advocacy Program (HCAP) intern for Planned Parenthood Keystone. As the advocacy intern, I had the opportunity to engage with patients in the health center every week, talking with them about how to better get involved in advocacy work through volunteering and sharing their story. In addition to my time spent in the health center, I coordinated several events such as phonebanks and canvasses. My internship with Planned Parenthood allowed me to explore Allentown in a way I had never done before. I met and worked with various community members and organizations in the Lehigh Valley, promoting Planned Parenthood’s work while also coordinating efforts for their own causes. Near the end of my internship, we even took a bus down to D.C. to rally for Planned Parenthood and fight the proposed health care bill that would “defund” Planned Parenthood. Overall, it was a great summer and an amazing learning experience!
I spent my summer interning at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield with the Workplace Wellness and Telemedicine team. Excellus BCBS is a health plan company that employs nearly 800 people in Syracuse, NY. After completing the Occupational Health and Business in Society courses as part of my cluster sophomore year, this internship provided me with an excellent opportunity to understand public health from a business perspective. The Workplace Wellness and Telemedicine Team primarily collaborates with employer groups (companies who are insurance plan subscribers) looking to promote health and wellness programs to their employees. In just 10 weeks, I was able to assist with a multitude of projects, connect with people throughout many different departments, and even work with a team of interns to complete and deliver a capstone presentation to a cohort of senior leaders including the corporation’s CEO. I had the opportunity to contribute to employee wellness programs in many different ways. Whether I was compiling competitive intelligence information, learning about new fitness tools, trackers, and apps, mapping out healthcare shortage areas from data sets, or networking with professionals, this internship was truly an outstanding experience.
My name is Lindsey Sharp, and I am a senior double majoring in dance and public health. This summer I was a research intern for Aon Health. I was working closely with the public health department of the company on the subject of genomics. This topic is growing in popularity among insurance companies as well as the general public. There are companies like “23 And Me” that offer direct to consumer genetic and genomic testing to provide ancestral information and potential future health risks based on their genetic make-up. My job was to seek out and organize any research done on the facts, benefits, costs, and economic efficiency of genomic testing. This was then put into both a fact sheet and a WebEx presentation to be distributed to consultants of Aon Health, so that Aon as a company is able to provide correct and useful information to companies looking to insure their employees who are wondering if genomic testing is a worthwhile investment. My work was very collaborative, and I worked side by side with my three supervisors to put together what we collectively discovered, and to talk through the implications of what we couldn’t find. This was a very beneficial experience that allowed me to work both on site, and remotely with representatives of a global company that is continually working toward a well-rounded base of knowledge to relay when helping companies like Verizon to provide the appropriate health insurance plans for its employees all around the country.