UNTHSC student, JPS Trauma Services find the perfect match
A UNT Health Science Center student found the perfect match and mentor when she was connected to JPS Health Network, Tarrant County, for her professional internship.
Now one year later, 2019 UNTHSC graduate Ashley Lamar, MPH, CPH, CHES, works full time in the department where she learned the ropes and contributed in a meaningful way toward community health while pursuing her degree.
As a Trauma Injury Prevention Specialist, Lamar works with Mary Ann Contreras, RN, Violence and Injury Prevention Manager, JPS Trauma Services.
Contreras served as her site supervisor over the last year and said she “nearly cried” when the internship was coming to an end.
The two hit it off so well, that when Contreras’ department was able to expand its role and fund a new employee, Lamar was the first candidate considered.
UNTHSC and JPS have worked together for years to help students gain real-world experience and give added perspective to their degree programs. The UNTHSC School of Public Health represents one such partnership.
The Public Health Practice Experience is part of the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program that links students to community organizations fitting their areas of interest.
It’s a learning experience for students and a way to bring their coursework to life. For partnering organizations, it’s a way to gain assistance and an added perspective to some of their most pressing public health challenges.
Through their roles at JPS, Contreras and Lamar focus on prevention, a major component of health care today.
“As a Level I Trauma Center accredited by the American College of Surgeons, we have seen an important trend over recent years, to view health care through a wider public health lens,” Contreras said. “In looking at what can cause injury and how to help people prevent it, factors like environment, behavior, policy and education are all key.”
As a member of UNTHSC’s Academic-Community Partnerships Advisory Board, Contreras expressed an interest in mentoring a student to begin the match process.
As she completed a survey, Lamar and fellow students were completing a questionnaire of their own.
The next step involved speed interviews, where potential matches met on the UNTHSC campus. Through various 15-minute conversations, students and organizations learned about each other and scored their preferred choices.
“My top pick was Mary Ann,” Lamar said.
Contreras’ top pick was Lamar.
A match was made.
Lamar’s work analyzing crime data on community violence within high-risk Tarrant County zip codes led to focus group meetings and, ultimately, recommendations for prevention.
“As Ashley grew in her role, I was also able to take on more in mine,” Contreras said.
For the nurse manager with a longtime career in trauma services, the combination of her background and the enthusiastic, public health mindset Lamar brought to the job has worked well.
Over the coming year, UNTHSC public health students and other organizations around and beyond Texas will benefit from similar matches, to help students prepare for their futures and find healthy solutions for the communities they serve.
While students have the option of finding their own match, Lamar said she’s happy for the process that led her to Contreras and JPS.
“We didn’t have to go far to find each other,” Lamar said. “Mary Ann is the best boss I could have asked for, and I’m grateful to be a part of the work JPS is doing.”
By Jan Jarvis By the time Lavinia Masters’ rape kit was tested, more than 20 years had passed since she was assaulted. By then, the statute of limitations for the crime had expired. Through the work of the UNT Center for Human Identification, such scenarios are becoming fewer and a...Read more
Aug 22, 2019
By Alex Branch Paul S. Saenz, DO, a graduate of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and Team Physician for the San Antonio Spurs, has been named the 2019 recipient of the Mary E. Luibel Distinguished Service Award by UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth. He will receive the award ...Read more
Aug 21, 2019
By Jan Jarvis The UNT System College of Pharmacy at UNT Health Science has reached another milestone just eight years after it was founded in 2011. The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education has granted the college a four-year accreditation term, the maximum allowed for a new prog...Read more
Aug 20, 2019
By Jan Jarvis About halfway through a ballet season filled with graceful leaps and pounding landings, dancer Celesta Gaiera had not suffered a single injury. Physical therapy, massage and compression boots helped keep the Texas Ballet Theatre dancer on her feet through “Cinderella,” “Cl...Read more
Aug 19, 2019