DMU students selected for summer 2020 Distinguished Global Health Internships

The Department of Global Health’s Distinguished Global Health Internships are highly selective research opportunities that enable students to explore global health research topics at various organizations. Students have the opportunity to work with researchers on projects such as conducting systematic reviews to create evidence-based educational materials for worldwide distribution.

This summer the internships will take place remotely instead of onsite in Washington, DC, due to COVID-19.

Krista Hoevemeyer, a dual-degree student in DMU’s doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) program and master of public health (M.P.H.) program, will complete an internship with the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USCRP). This internship will fulfill the Applied Practice Experience for her M.P.H. degree.

Krista Hoevemeyer

Krista is excited that this internship will provide an opportunity to combine her experiences in public health and medicine education. 

“I have always been interested in looking at how individuals can change their behavior to help alleviate climate change, but this internship will give me a chance to look at how to incorporate policy and broader change into that vision,” she described. “I will be looking at international efforts in health programming related to climate to help inform future programming efforts in the United States. Knowing that research that I conduct could help shape future efforts is both exciting and humbling. I not only will have the chance to change individual lives with my future medical practice, but also help alleviate climate health concerns on a societal scale.”

Krista’s previous experience includes working with the Physicians for Social Responsibility to educate the public and health professionals about the climate effects that face our population.

“The lack of education and understanding on this topic is astounding,” Krista explained. “This internship will give an indepth understanding of the interagency dynamics for producing excellent education materials on this topic. I hope to use those skills to educate my patients and other communities in the future.” 

Krista plans to become an internal medicine physician and will use her public health knowledge and skills to incorporate community-wide prevention strategies including working on nutrition and climate health. She wants to be involved in policymaking and push for a “health in all policies” outlook.

“I think by having both public health and medical education, I am in a unique position to create community and collaboration between the two fields to develop more efficient strategies to improve health,” she summarized.

Tejaspreet “Tejas” Kaur, an osteopathic medical student at DMU, will complete an internship with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). As part of this experience, she will receive one research elective credit at DMU.

Tejaspreet “Tejas” Kaur

Learning about the complex nature of geriatric care has been one of Tejas’ interests since she was in high school. That interest, combined with her advanced Spanish language proficiency and interest in Latin American cultures, makes the internship at the Healthy Life Course Unit at PAHO a great opportunity for her. She completed her undergraduate degree in human development and aging and was able to further pursue her passion for the Spanish language and Latin American cultures while studying in Los Angeles. During her undergraduate education, she had the opportunity to use her Spanish-speaking skills while volunteering as a clinical care extender at a hospital in an area with an 82 percent Latino population. This experience included facilitating communication between Latino patients and their care providers.

“Both linguistic and cultural barriers between these patients and most health professionals were unfortunately apparent, and I witnessed numerous misunderstandings and avoidable communication failures between patients and staff,” she reflected. “Through this, I realized how imperative it is to understand and connect with a patient’s respective culture and values.”

Tejas is excited to continue this line of work with PAHO this summer.

“I have learned that I have only begun to scratch the surface of understanding this complicated and vulnerable patient population. Working with the Pan American Health Organization on the Healthy Life Course Project this summer will allow me to help support the global health of this overlooked population and to integrate my passions and expand my knowledge base,” she explained. “PAHO’s focus on enhancing the well-being of Latin American and Caribbean communities aligns with my ultimate goal to become a physician working with underserved inner-city geriatric populations. I am greatly looking forward to this experience and hope to help as much as I can during this global health crisis.”

Cole Wesselman, a dual-degree student in DMU’s osteopathic medical program and master of health care administration (M.H.A.) program, was selected for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) internship in Atlanta. Due to COVID-19, this internship has been postponed for one year, and Cole will complete this internship in summer 2021.

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