Experience 1 (300 hours)
Over the summer after my freshman year, I participated in Duke Engage, Washington DC where I worked at the National Academies of Medicine (NAM), specifically, in the Board of Children, Youth and Families (BCYF). I was selected to be one of nine participants on the Duke Engage program after a competitive application and interview process. During my internship at BCYF, I researched the impact of health policy for NAM reports and created a database of stakeholders for BCYF.
Within the Board, I worked on a forum as well as on a consensus study. The forum was called the Forum on Children’s Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health and it was responsible for being a neutral convener for stakeholders with concerns regarding children’s cognitive and behavioral health. The forum holds workshops that facilitate a space for health insurance providers, governmental organizations, and any other stakeholders in the matter to discuss the topic of the workshop. My work at the forum included organizing and planning these innovative workshops by reaching out to organizations and seeing how their interests align with the possible subjects of the workshops.
Another work product of BCYF is their thorough consensus reports. The consensus study that I worked on was called Advancing the Power of Economic Evidence to Inform Investments in Children, Youth, and Families. For this study, I sat in on committee meetings, and was able to view the process of putting together a consensus report by the authors representing all different fields of relevance to the topic. I also did research and provided input on the impact of the use of past economic evidence. I have linked the webpage with details on the report at the top of the page!
Finally, as a part of my responsibilities at NAM, I worked with the BCYF board director at the time, Kimber Bogard, who was eager to develop a program regarding young adults’ perception of minority races in the media and the effects that has on specific populations’ health care. Her goal was to develop an ad campaign that puts the issues of race, stereotypes and health into the same conversation. I worked with her to brainstorm different ideas and to develop various platforms that could be used to reach young adults and to get this message across. As a result, I was invited back to DC in September to participate in the National Academies Young Adults Communication Meeting where I was among professionals in the research, healthcare, and government spheres talking about young adults and how healthcare should be approached from their standpoint. All of my input was taken very seriously due to the work I did during the summer and since I was representing the voice of a young adult. I have linked the video to this page at the top. Enjoy!
My experiences at the National Academies of Medicine relate to innovation and entrepreneurship in a variety of ways. Through my experiences at the CCAB forum, I was able to learn how to navigate hierarchies of organizations as well as how to engage most effectively with stakeholders. This is very important when it comes to innovation and entrepreneurship because presenting the value propositions of the workshops to potential contributors is similar to creating value propositions when discovering a product or business that will cater to a certain audience effectively.
In terms of my research for the consensus study, I was able to go in depth in the research process and become especially familiar with how to be an efficient researcher, to find salient information, and to present it succinctly. I was able to do so and was fortunate enough to have my work published. This relates to innovation and entrepreneurship because the way to start out any venture is by doing research and by making sure that you have the the ability and the tools to pitch your ideas to potential stakeholders or customers.
The biggest takeaways from my experience were that I realized how important my opinions and contributions could be to such a large organization. I had never thought that my input would be so included in the way that it was in both the consensus study as well as the innovation to incubation video that came out of the Young Adults Communications meeting. From my experience, I initially went into the process thinking that I would be a cog in a large machine that is the National Academies, but I was mistaken in that I felt like a valued member of a highly functional and impressive team.
I have always had a lingering interest in healthcare due to my extra curricular activities around mentoring those with chronic illnesses as well as the work I did for the Arthritis Foundation, before coming to Duke. From my internship at the National Academies of Medicine, I realized I have a true passion for health care and public health policy. I was able to take that into consideration more seriously when deciding what to do the following summer and framing my coursework at Duke. As a result of this realization, my objective for the certificate also shifted a little bit to incorporate a health care aspect of mentorship alongside education and empowerment.