Congratulations to second year master’s IHC track students and Upstream summer editors, Stephanie Schmitt and Kyla Garrett, for their fascinating internships this summer! We caught up with them with some quick questions:

Stephanie Schmitt

A little background about you:

I’m originally from New Hampshire, and did my undergraduate degree at Wake Forest University, where I graduated in 2008. I had no idea what I wanted to do at the time, so spent 5 years doing a lot of things, including teaching English in the driest desert in the world in Chile, working in student life at a university, working with a Christian nonprofit organization in Argentina for 2 years doing English and health education programs, and working in DC in B2B marketing for an advisory company.  I came back to higher education to the IHC program in 2013, realizing that, while I love both marketing and education, I wanted to use those skills for something that I was passionate about: health.

At UNC I’m working to develop my research skills in order to inform strategy in my work with Latino health, tobacco, and community health, and hope to be able to use these skills as a practitioner in the field after I graduate.

What your company/organization does:

This summer I’m working for MicroMass Communications, which is a full-service healthcare marketing agency centered on evidence-based social science and behavioral approaches.  We work with pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare organizations to bring about better patient/provider relationships, patient adherence, and, more than anything, more positive health outcomes.  MicroMass calls itself the “Experts in Human Health Behavior”.

What you’re doing with them this summer:

This summer I’m the behavioral services intern, and am working on a qualitative research project.  We’re using a web-based journal medium to obtain rich qualitative feedback from respondents with 4 different chronic illnesses about their relationships with their providers, and, more specifically, about the dialogue and communication that happens during appointments. Through data analysis we’re hoping to identify themes that will show what behavioral approaches are happening successfully, and will identify gaps in which behavioral approaches could potentially help the dialogue, relationship and subsequent patient outcomes.

What you hope to get from the experience:

I’m trying to soak everything in while I’m here, and learn more about the relationship marketing life cycle that happens at MicroMass, from working on new business pitches, to working with clients, to writing curricula for communications and education programs for patients and doctors.  I even got to be part of a 1-day health coach training with the team last week.  It has been a really great integration of my marketing knowledge with my more recent public health education.  In terms of my research project, I’m hoping this work will be helpful for MicroMass in their future client work, and will help to illustrate the need for proven behavioral approaches in the patient/provider relationship.  It has been a wonderful learning experience so far, and the team at MicroMass is a fountain of knowledge and experience from which to learn.

Kyla Garrett

A little background about you:

I am a born and raised Hoosier girl from Noblesville, Indiana but don’t be fooled, I am all Boilermaker. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Purdue University in May of 2013 where I double majored in Communications and Women’s Studies. Enthusiastic about the field of research and its impact on our lives, I knew early on that I wanted to go into academia with the specific goal of becoming a professor and (hopefully) a consultant on women’s issues both in the US and internationally.

I just finished the first year of my Masters studying Health Communication at UNC where I am focusing my research interests on sexual health behavior and communication, specifically emergency contraception perceptions and usage among U.S. college students. My post-Master’s plan is to keep following my dream of becoming a professor by moving into a Communications PhD program.

What your company/organization does:

This summer I have the unique privilege of working for an organization I have had in my “Top 10” to work at since my undergraduate days: IntraHealth International – a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering health workers to better serve poor countries in need around the world. IntraHealth has worked in 96 countries, spearheading countless efforts to improve local health disparities and problems, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, domestic violence, gender equality, and much more.

What you’re doing with them this summer:

Just like any majorly successful organization, IntraHealth requires clean-up assistance and maintenance of its public information – which is exactly what I have been brought in to do. As a fresh set of eyes, I am working closely with IntraHealth’s Senior Editor and Writer to edit and update over 30 countrries’ information pages to later be uploaded to the organization’s website. Additionally, it is my responsibility to create new web content for projects that the organization is launching this year, participate in the monitoring and review of the organization’s web-based analytics, as well as provide my professional insight for future development of the organization’s website.

What you hope to get from the experience:

The biggest aspect I hope to take from this opportunity is the experience of working for this type of organization – which is one I hope to consult for in the future. In the short time I have been with the organization I have had the opportunity to sit in on crucial project development meetings, participate in editorial meetings to finalize publications, and even write for the organization’s international blog. The style of work and types of responsibilities are all new to me so I’m doing all that I can to learn from them to better understand how organizations such as IntraHealth become so successful in hopes of one day assisting an organization just like it. But in the meantime, I’m simply honored to work of an organization that is truly making the world a safer and healthier place to live in.

 

 

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