I AM FPHLP 2017: Jorge Calderón

 Jorge CalderónAlthough Jorge's major was not related to public health, he had always been interested in the field. He came across FPHLP after browsing through his school's website, and after doing some research on the program, he decided to apply. Jorge Calderón was part of the 2017 FPHLP cohort. He is a recent graduate from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where he majored in Business Administration Management and minored in Medical Spanish.

While in Michigan, Jorge worked at the Lenawee County Health Department (LCHD) in Adrian, Michigan. Jorge's role at LCHD was as an Emergency Preparedness administrative assistant. He did data analysis for the Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth, an online health survey offered by the Michigan Department of Education and Health and Human Services. This assessment helps meet local and regional needs by supporting data-driven decisions to improve prevention and health promotion programming in schools. Towards the end of his internship, Jorge presented this project to the Lenawee County Board of Health.

Jorge and FriendsThe highlight of Jorge's summer was meeting people with similar mindsets from all over the country. However, he found it challenging to network not only with FPHLP participants, but also with CDC Undergraduate Public Health Scholars from other programs and University of Michigan School of Public Health staff. At the beginning of the program, Jorge had a hard time getting out of his comfort zone to initiate relationships, but as summer progressed, he got better at it. He learned about the importance of building relationships with people in the same field, and Jorge is convinced that his relationships with other FPHLP alumni will keep growing and developing as he continues on his professional career.  

Jorge_LCHDAfter FPHLP ended, Jorge completed his last semester of school and graduated in December. He moved to Austin, Texas after accepting a job offer with Epic Health Services' Operations Management team. The company he works for provides in-home pediatric therapy and nursing services. Jorge works to help families navigate through the healthcare system to make sure they receive the services they need. FPHLP helped Jorge realize the importance of a graduate degree in professional development. His plans are to continue getting experience in healthcare management and apply to a Health Management and Policy Master's program within the next two years.

Jorge never thought that he would get into a program as selective as FPHLP, but he decided to apply anyway. "FPHLP can only be as life-changing as you allow it to be," Jorge says to those considering applying to FPHLP. "You don't lose anything by trying, right? Do not doubt yourself and just do it."