What inspired you to study public health?
My passion for public health was sparked during my volunteer work with an exceptional organization known as Global Brigades. This non-profit organization operates on an international level and is dedicated to empowering volunteers to assist underprivileged communities in addressing global health and economic disparities. It was an honor for me to participate in this humbling experience and travel to Honduras to collaborate with local community leaders and healthcare professionals in implementing sustainable health systems.
Through my involvement with Global Brigades, I acquired invaluable skills and was able to positively impact the lives of more than six hundred patients by providing health screenings, medications, and educational workshops. I worked in various areas such as triage, primary care, dental care, and gynecology, where I carried out tasks such as taking blood pressure, conducting lung and throat assessments, and assisting with pap smears, teeth extractions, fillings, among other duties.
My focus wasn’t just on individual medical attention; I also worked towards strengthening the public health system. Alongside my team, we dug trenches to lay pipes for clean water in the community and built a sanitation station to enable a family to bathe and use the restrooms properly. These measures were tailored to the specific needs of the community, and the reception from the hosts was incredibly appreciative because we listened to their needs and worked towards enhancing the health of their community.
What has been the single most rewarding experience of your career/studies so far?
One of the most fulfilling moments in my career has been receiving an offer to become a research fellow in the Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training program, which is funded by the National Institute of Health in partnership with the University of West Indies. This opportunity entails traveling to Kingston, Jamaica, to gain practical experience with study initiation and execution, as well as aiding in the establishment of their HIV and Cannabis research program.
Where did you do your practicum? What was it about?
A non-profit organization called “A Breeze of Hope” where I worked to prevent sexual violence against children, restore the lives of survivors and promote healthy childhood development in Bolivia.
What do you hope to accomplish in your career?
In this lifetime, my aspiration is to persist in my mission – to serve and enable underprivileged communities by offering public health services that safeguard and enhance the well-being of all individuals residing in those communities. Furthermore, I aim to concentrate on my personal passions in both domestic and international public health, which encompass working towards attaining health equity, eradicating inequalities, and advancing the health of all groups.
We are sometimes our own worst enemy. Do not let fear hold you back from going after whatever it is you want to go after. Take that risk and go for that opportunity because it could end up being really beneficial to you later on. You will learn so much from it and not have that ‘what if’ gut feeling. There’s rarely any growth in comfort, so step outside that bubble and push yourself to do better and be better!
Current Position June 2023:
Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Health
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