DMU student takes global look at aging during distinguished internship

Peggy Galvez, D.O.’23, M.H.A.’23, completed an eight-week internship at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Washington, DC, during June and July 2019. She was selected to participate in this internship as part of the Department of Global Health’s Distinguished Global Health Internships program. These internships enable select students to collaborate with researchers to explore global health research topics at various national organizations.

Peggy’s internship at PAHO was within the Healthy Life Course unit at PAHO.  During her internship, she worked on the development of the “Multinational Initiative to Strengthen Health Systems’ Capacity to Approach Aging.” This initiative is comprised of three components: a preparedness assessment for health systems; addressing long-term care; and strengthening primary health care services. Peggy focused on strengthening primary health care excellence and tied together the sub-components of this category.

DMU student Peggy Galvez researched issues of aging and health care during her Distinguished Global Health Internship at PAHO in summer 2019.

She says her main takeaway from this project was “the urgent need to reframe the way the older population is being viewed and treated. The aim is to switch from a disease-centered model to a person-centered model and address the needs of each older adult uniquely.” As Peggy continues in health and medicine, she will carry this person-centered approach with her.

Peggy also had the opportunity to attend several large meetings while she was at PAHO, including the Adolescent Health Meeting and the PAHO-USA Healthy Aging in the Americas Meeting. “Being a part of these meetings was a great experience as I was able to hear different perspectives on important issues,” Peggy commented. Her Spanish proficiency proved very useful, especially during meetings where she served as an interpreter for PAHO guests who only spoke Spanish and as a translator, assisting with the translation of important documents.

Peggy found her internship at PAHO to be extremely beneficial. “It was interesting to see the work of public health at this level of an organization as I saw the developing stages for strategic plans and long-term visions for countries and regions. Furthermore, it was exciting to meet people from different backgrounds and work on projects together,” she explains. “People had different inputs and contributions influenced by their unique backgrounds. As an intern, I felt that I had a balanced role of learning and also contributing some of my ideas to PAHO. I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity and would highly recommend this unique experience to future students.”

Are you a DMU student interested in the internship at PAHO or one of the other Distinguished Global Health Internships? The application for the Distinguished Global Health internships for 2020 will open on Nov. 4, 2019. For more information and how to apply, please visit the Department of Global Health’s website. If you have any questions, please contact the department at

Disclaimer: This content is created for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Sondra Schreiber

Director of Global Health

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