Akanksha Dua '16

Students interested in public health have a wealth of Twin Cities internship opportunities where they can explore their interests and expand their skills.

Akanksha Dua ’16 (Kolkata, India), already a neuroscience studies major, added a major in applied mathematics and statistics after interning at the Minnesota Department of Health. There she worked as a data scientist in the Injury and Violence Prevention Unit. “I analyzed environment-related deaths in Minnesota; firework injuries in adults and children; and suicide among Asian-American Minnesotans,” she says.

Using statistical software (SAS, Excel and Rstudio), she conducted data analysis and visualization. “The experience deepened my understanding of public health surveillance and epidemiological systems, and how they can be used to raise public health awareness.”

Anthropology major Gabrielle Morgenstern ’16 (Newton, Mass.) also interned at the Department of Health. Hers is a yearlong, paid internship that concludes with her graduation in May 2016. She has been working on an extensive workforce survey involving physicians, physician’s assistants, nurses, social workers, dentists, and people in 12 other health professions. “The thing that surprised me the most about my internship was the amount of autonomy I received,” she says. “Until then, I had primarily done shift work, so this was quite different.”

Morgenstern has an independent project under review by the Institutional Review Board, which evaluates projects involving human participants to protect the rights and safety of participants. If she receives the go-ahead, she will be investigating the psychiatrist shortage in Minnesota.

Katie Spencer ’16 (Strafford, Vt.) interned with the Hubert Humphrey Job Corps, where she connected with students who are currently taking daily medication, assessing their adherence and connecting them with resources to address any concerns or side effects they had.  It is part of a model that helps students succeed by offering collaborative care for their physical and mental health needs.

“I feel really fortunate to have been able to work directly with students at Job Corps,” says Spencer, a psychology major. “Medication adherence in youth who are not living at home is an under-researched area. Interviewing the students helped us identify which factors might contribute to consistent or inconsistent medication adherence and will help us to identify a better system at Job Corps in the future.”

Shruthi Kamisetty ’16 (Bangalore, India, and Portland, Ore.), a biology major, interned at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in the Health Policy and Management Department: “I helped Dr. Katy Kozhamannil with data collection, qualitative data coding and drafting manuscripts for publications on projects relating to Medicaid accessibility and persistent racial disparities in the Twin Cities. I also helped out with the data collection related to the levels of maternal care.

“My supervisor was incredibly supportive, understanding and a wonderful person overall. I look forward to keeping in touch with her as I navigate life after Macalester. That surprised me the most and made me even more motivated to put my best foot forward.”

May 9 2016

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