DMU’s Global Health Pathways of Distinction Internships are highly selective opportunities for students to explore and conduct research on health topics while working with some of the best minds in science, medicine and public health. These internships also allow students to bring their passions and knowledge to the table, as the three 2018 interns are eager to do.
Consider, for example, Christine Jackson, a second-year osteopathic medical student who also is pursuing her master’s in public health at DMU. She’s kept her kindergarten class project in which she answered the question, “What do you want to be?” with an emphatic “doctor.” As an undergraduate at Tulane University, she majored in public health, which she considers a “cool balance of medicine and sociology.” This summer, she will work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta in its climate and health program, researching effects of climate change on community health.
“I’m interested in looking into vector-borne diseases such as the Zika virus,” she says. “The CDC has a really good blend of physicians and researchers. When patients see a doctor, often they don’t have just one acute illness; their health is an accumulation of a lot of factors. Medicine and public health can take a personal and social approach in addressing these issues.”
Second-year osteopathic medical student Sasirekha Pandravada will spend her summer at the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) in Washington, DC, which was created in 1989 to “assist the nation and the world to understand, assess, predict and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.”
She will bring diverse perspectives given her undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering, her goal of becoming a physician and her global health service experiences. In India, she and her colleagues provided care in mobile medical clinics and home visits, but they also offered public health education on topics such as daily hygiene and safe drinking water. In her major, she helped conduct research on a skin glue gun, which she knew could help the burn victims she saw in India. Last year, she participated in DMU’s health service trip in the Dominican Republic, where she honed her patient care skills.
“The USGCRP applies technology and knowledge to populations,” she says. “I want to combine technology with health promotion and prevention to help people worldwide.”
Joshua Tomashek, also a second-year osteopathic medical student, will experience the Global Health Pathways of Distinction internship with the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), which requires fluency in Spanish. He will bring hands-on experiences in helping people with serious health challenges. Prior to DMU, for four years he was a public health worker and educator in Minneapolis and, for a short time, in West Chester, PA. He educated community members and professionals about issues that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) patients and populations face. He worked in a care home administering medications, charting on patients and assisting in daily living activities for persons with HIV who had other chronic morbidities.
“I witnessed the challenges of managing multiple chronic illnesses and the personal struggles that accompany chronic disease,” he says.
Tomashek also performed HIV testing among migrant farm workers, administered Hepatitis C tests, taught sexual health education and assisted people who inject drugs in accessing treatment services. At PAHO, he plans to apply his passions for healthy LGBTQ aging, international public health and clinical research.
“I think my interest in public health and public health program implementation has made me sensitive to the importance of interprofessional cooperation and coordination of care,” he says. “I hope my background in public health makes me a great team player who knows how to engage patients in the multitude of resources available to support their health.”