I AM FPHLP 2019: Kai Le

Kai Le, FPHLP 2019

Kai Le was part of the Michigan FPHLP 2019 cohort. She will be graduating from Eastern Michigan University with a degree in Urban Planning and Communication Technology. During Summer 2019, she interned at the University of Michigan Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS). Her preceptor arranged informational meetings with public safety professionals for she and her field placement partner. Kai deeply enjoyed spending time with and interviewing police officers, security officers, interpersonal violence experts, and other public safety professionals about human trafficking in my local community.  

For Kai’s FPHLP symposium presentation, she explored human trafficking in Michigan. During this research experience, Kai observed a lack of knowledge regarding protocol to identify trafficked persons moving through Michigan Medicine. So, she developed a poster presentation that recommended DPSS Special Victims Unit develop human trafficking identification scenarios for training law enforcement personnel. 

Kai didn’t know what public health was before FPHLP, so she wanted to participate in FPHLP to get a hands-on, engaging introduction to health disparities and the field of public health. She also was encouraged to apply because FPHLP accepts applicants from any major. 

Kai’s favorite FPHLP experience was visiting the CDC and Atlanta Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia. She also enjoyed taking a emergency management tour of the University of Michigan stadium and learning about emergency action plans that the University of Michigan has for a variety of situations at the stadium.  

To Kai, her greatest challenge as a participant was stepping out of her comfort zone to lead interviews with public safety professionals and also present research publicly. However, FPHLP really taught Kai how to improve her public speaking and research presentation skills in classes, group projects, and while preparing her poster presentation. 

Since FPHLP, Kai has participated in the Big Ten Academic Alliance Summer Research Opportunities Program at the University of Michigan. She also obtained a job as a Research Assistant at the Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Research Center at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. There, she is a part of a research team that is examining how physical features, like lighting and vacancy, may be spatially associated with illegal dumping sites in Flint, Michigan and Camden, New Jersey.

In the fall, Kai will pursue graduate study and research opportunities that explore the relationship between urban planning and public health. In the future, she hopes to protect public health by maintaining and improving affordable housing and accessible transportation programs. 

Kai would advise students who are considering participating in FPHLP to network over the summer with faculty from the programs’ students are interested in pursuing in the future. She would also advise students to develop strong relationships with their field placement supervisors to seek volunteer, work, and other professional opportunities post-FPHLP.