What was your internship job title?
The Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostic-Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) Team and Historically Black Colleges/Universities InternAssistant to Fatima Guerrab, Program Coordinator, CCPH
What is your HBCU?
North Carolina Central University (NCCU)
What is your college major?
Public Health Education
How did you find this internship?
I recently spoke with my professor about my desire to find an internship that aligned with my passion for health equity and social justice work. My professor informed me that a recent alumna, Fatima Z. Guerrab, MPH, CHES® , shared an opportunity to intern with an international nonprofit and distinguished leader in health equity and social justice. I immediately knew this opportunity was what I had been looking for and applied as soon as possible.
Where are these internships located?
CCPH is an organization based in Raleigh, NC that operates remotely, with staff located throughout the U.S.
The RADx-UP team supports projects all over the United States.
How long is your internship?
I am thrilled to be joining CCPH for an 8-week practicum during March and April to gain real-world public health experience before graduation. My ultimate goal is to join CCPH as a full-time staff member after my practicum concludes. While I am beginning my journey with the team, I recognize and value the work environment at CCPH that preaches equity and actively practices it! I believe that joining CCPH would provide the perfect opportunity to apply my various skills and knowledge while simultaneously developing me into a confident and reputable public health professional.
What are your duties as an intern?
As the RADx-UP Team and HBCU Intern, I will be assisting the CCPH RADx-UP Team advance the community engagement efforts led by the Coordination and Data Collection Center. I will mainly be involved in helping provide capacity-building to RADx-UP projects and training and technical assistance for community engaged approaches.
During my time at NCCU, I have enjoyed serving in numerous leadership capacities that have significantly contributed to my professional development.
My proudest accomplishment as a budding public health professional would be my contributions to the NCCU November Blood Drive in collaboration with the American Red Cross. NCCU is an essential donation site for Sickle Cell patients, a genetic blood disorder that disproportionately affects the Black community. Blood supplies are at a critical low causing many hospitals to ration their blood supply. Upon learning the importance of the NCCU site, I felt it was vital for me to do what I could to improve awareness and participation amongst the Black community as my cousin recently passed from the disease.
I contributed to strategy meetings by suggesting and executing a campus-wide marketing campaign to help achieve this goal. The marketing campaign included announcements during campus events, notifications in the campus news, and collaboration with numerous influential campus organizations. The blood drive received over 100 participants and more than seven times the previous donations. Thanks to the donors, the American Red Cross received 55 pints of blood in my cousin’s honor. Partnering to save lives is the most meaningful experience a promising health professional can imagine.
What do you think is your most significant accomplishment?
RADx-UP is a consortium of community-engaged research projects whose aim is to transform COVID-19 research to eliminate health disparities heightened by this pandemic. This nationwide program builds innovative and sustainable solutions to expand testing access and uptake in underserved, vulnerable communities. A noticeable need of many of the research partners supported by RADx-UP is guidance in increasing engagement, trust, and rapport in these communities. My goal is to pilot short training modules to address RADx-UP partners’ training and technical assistance needs, while also supporting the CCPH RADx-UP team with additional tasks.
What was your favorite part of the internship?
As I reflect on my first week, I have enjoyed the entire experience. The entire CCPH team welcomed me with open arms and gave me internal confirmation that this was the absolute best organization I could have chosen to complete my internship. Thus far, my favorite part of the internship has been training under the genuinely incredible people working on the CCPH RADx-UP team! These phenomenal women have become my public health inspirations and inspiring representations of the work that is possible for me to accomplish throughout my career. I greatly appreciate their insight, guidance, and transparency along this journey, and I look forward to learning more from them!
How do you think your internship helps prepare you professionally?
CCPH is the first organization I have known that actively pursues a vision similar to mine and does so in a spirit of excellence. This independent yet cohesive work environment will strengthen my accountability in the virtual world we live in presently. I am learning that it is okay to only say yes to what you know you can accomplish and focus on delivering an amazing outcome instead of racing to complete as many tasks as possible that lack quality. As a distinguished leader in health equity and social justice, I believe CCPH will train me to be a force within this facet of public health and empower me to carry my impact beyond my local community and into state and federal communities.
CCPH is also teaching me that it is not only acceptable but expected that I will need help from time to time and has provided a safe environment for me to learn and grow. I believe the consciousness and intentionality used to develop a work environment that values personal well-being and authentic partnership will be a priceless asset that I will be able to take with me and enlighten other public health entities to not only preach equity but live equity.