Student Reports from 2011 Summer Internships
Here's a sampling of global public health internships undertaken by SPH students in the summer of 2011:
Hanna Oltean, Epidemiology (International Health), Morocco and Egypt
Morocco and Egypt
"I spent my summer internship working in Morocco and Egypt studying chronic mastitis, an inflammatory condition that we suspect may be a risk factor for inflammatory breast cancer. These types of complex issues require one to have an understanding of many social and biological fields, a challenge that I find exciting in its non-uniformity. Public health, especially international work in epidemiology, has fulfilled my interest in multidisciplinary studies, while at the same time teaching me new and more effective ways of approaching complex problems."
Elana Habib, Health Behavior and Health Education, Lithuania
Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN) in Vilnius, Lithuania.
"My position with EHRN was to advocate for harm reduction through policy writing and networking with regional members. In my position, I became entrenched in Hepatitis C treatment price reduction research. Based off of this research, I co-produced a Call for Action and am involved in the co-production of an upcoming policy brief on Hepatitis C treatment price reduction."
What did you learn? "I learned that it is extremely important to understand Post-Soviet history as well as to learn another common language. I am also learning a lot about international consulting and truly believe this is what I want to do. Additionally, I have found how much education from UMSPH I am using in this internship."
Kristefer Stojanovski, Health Management and Policy and Epidemiology (dual), Serbia
World Health Organization Serbia Country Office in Belgrade, Serbia
"My work focused on addressing issues that the Roma population faces in attempting to invoke their human rights, especially in relation to health. I worked primarily with the WHO, but also collaborated with Roma NGO's on survey development, administration and oversight. After data was collected, I analyzed the data using a human rights based approach to establish what type of rights violations were occurring. I am currently in the process of drafting papers for publication, which shall also be presented at the South East European High-level meeting on Roma in November in Belgrade, Serbia."
What is the long term professional and/or personal impact of your experience? "The internship helped to connect me to the international organizations such as the WHO and UN agencies. Having these connections will help me to pursue careers within these organizations."
Regina Grossman, Health Behavior and Health Education, Rwanda
Rwanda Village Concept Project, National University of Rwanda, in Butare, Rwanda
"The Rwanda Village Concept Project aims to foster community level change within rural villages. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with their hygiene and sanitation programs among adults within the Mpungwe village and children at Nyanza Primary School. This entailed weekly hour-long teaching sessions at a primary school and individual teaching sessions in Mpungwe village. Additionally, I researched and created a proposal for an adult hygiene and sanitation education session.
What is the long term professional and/or personal impact of your experience?"I feel extremely passionate about global health and this experience only confirmed the direction I would like to move towards in the future. I learned so much working at the community level and hope that I can continue to do so in the future."
Linda Schultz, Health Behavior and Health Education, Ecuador:
The Quito Project and the Center for Global Health in Quito, Ecuador
"I coordinated and supervised a 9-week mobile health randomized control trial in southern Quito hospitals and health clinics to cost effectively connect postpartum women with nurses. We hoped to show the potential for mobile technology to improve maternal and infant health outcomes.
"As a result of my experience with my internship, I learned (a) effective ways that the health sites accommodate the cultural beliefs of the local indigenous populations, (b) how to read medical charts and how to identify risk factors, (c) crucial advice to share with mothers, (d) how directly a lack of sufficient staff, supplies, and willingness to communicate affects the health of the patients (e) the importance of having a strong understanding of research methods when conducting a study in a setting that has not performed many randomized trials
"This internship reaffirmed my interest in working with underserved populations in an international setting. Additionally, this experience showed me how the skills gained from Michigan's School of Public Health can help improve and direct research initiatives in countries, such as Ecuador, that are starting to make research trials a priority."
Background on GPHI Internships
Students in most UM SPH master's degree programs are required to complete an internship or some type of field experience between their first and second year. Many students focus their internship on health issues within international or internationally related contexts.
SPH students interested in finding a global health field placement should begin by working with their department advisor. Additionally, an annual funding competition is held each winter term for SPH students conducting global health internships.