The summer just before completing my MPH my advisor, Dr. Coggin, encouraged me to apply for an internship. With her support and guidance I was able to successfully apply to the Graduate Student Internship Program (GSIP). I was fortunate enough to be accepted as an intern with an assignment in Baton Rouge, LA with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals/Office of Public Health focusing on Maternal and Child Health.
My experience with this internship was particularly beneficial. It taught me a lot about myself while allowing me to apply skills that I had learned in the classroom. I was able to develop emergency preparedness plans as they related to women and children in close proximity to power plants in the geographical area. I was also able to generate surveys and conduct needs assessments for stockpiling Potassium Iodide (KI) pills for the sake of emergency preparedness.
That experience reaffirmed my passion for not only emergency preparedness but maternal and child health. My current position with March of Dimes as the Program Services Coordinator for the Tarrant County Division definitely has a focus on maternal and child health. The mission is to improve the health of all babies by preventing birth defects, preterm birth and infant mortality. I’m able to educate women of childbearing age on the benefits of taking folic acid and the signs and symptoms of premature labor. I’m also able to incorporate emergency preparedness into my current situation, by making sure that moms and babies displaced during disasters have the basic necessities awaiting them when they arrive to shelters.
The GSIP assignment provided me with the confidence that I needed in order to move into the public health work force. I highly recommend students to seek out and take advantage of any and all internship opportunities. They can help to shape ones career path, helping them to identify their passion.
“That all said, I suppose it is safe to say that my experience in this internship has been extremely beneficial. It taught me about myself and gave me an opportunity to practice everything I spent my last few years
in college learning…It is an experience I would recommend that everyone take part in prior to graduating or entering their career field.”
Lakeshia Brown, MPH, CHES
Program Services Coordinator
March of Dimes
While a student at the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC), I had the opportunity to fulfill my practice experience requirement by interning at the U. S. Indian Health Service (IHS) through the U.S. Public Health Service Junior Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Program (JRCOSTEP).
As an intern, the bulk of my duties were spent on tracking trends in fatal and non-fatal severe injuries in southern Arizona American Indian tribes. After graduating from UNTHSC, I became a Commissioned Officer with the U.S. Public Health Service. My current assignment is with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration where I protect the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. What makes my job unique is in addition to working with FDA, I am also apart of an integrated national medical response team. For example, I was deployed to Baton Rouge, LA to provide public health services to special needs patients displaced by Hurricane Gustav. I want to encourage UNTHSC students to take charge of their careers by proactively seeking quality practice experience opportunities. Students never know they may end up like me, where their practice experience turns into a wonderful and rewarding career opportunity.
The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is an elite team of more than 6,000 full-time, well-trained, highly qualified public health professionals dedicated to delivering the Nation’s public health promotion and disease prevention programs and advancing public health science. As one of America’s seven uniformed services, the Commissioned Corps fills essential public health leadership and service roles within the Nation’s Federal Government agencies and programs.
If you have any question regarding the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps please contact
LT Kimberly Hull at firstname.lastname@example.org.