Rachel Mansk, M.P.H.,

DMU Student Selected for Global Health Internship at the CDC

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

The internships will take place virtually this summer. 

Rachel Mansk, M.P.H., who’s completing her first year in DMU’s Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program, will complete an internship with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Below she shares her motivations for pursuing the internship. 

Briefly Describe Experiences That Sparked Your Interest in Global Health

I graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in human physiology. Following graduation, I started working in a physiology research lab at the University of Minnesota, where we studied the impact of chronic psychosocial stress on health outcomes. Specifically, we focused on socioeconomic status and its biological effects on the development of chronic diseases, including dementia and cardiovascular disease.  

Quantifying the relationship between social relationships and age-related pathologies motivated me to return to school for a public health degree. In 2023, I graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Master of Public Health degree in environmental sciences and global health.  

Why Were You Interested in This Internship at the CDC? 

I was interested in participating in the summer CDC internship because I wanted to connect global health, environmental hazards and clinical medicine. Prior to beginning my M.P.H., I traveled to rural Peru and witnessed the impact that frequent droughts were having on vegetation and the health of individuals. After this experience, I was motivated to learn more about climate change and how it impacts health outcomes in Minnesota and beyond.  

I learned the striking difference in pollution based on zip code and area of residence and how these factors impact the development and progression of several chronic diseases. I also learned how population displacement, extreme weather events and other social stressors collide to impact health.  

What Do You Hope to Learn? 

I am excited to work with the CDC this summer and hope to continue to gain more knowledge about environmental and global health. I will do this by exploring the relationship between climate change and maternal health, with more emphasis on underrepresented and marginalized populations.  

I also hope to learn more about the impact of local and global legislation on climate change and maternal health and explore ways that we can intervene to improve the health of others.  

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