It is in the middle of October and I am beyond knee deep working on a National Health Systems strengthening project in the Caribbean! But before I give you any details to this adventure and (stressful!) project, let’s back up a bit to discuss how I got here in the first place.
I am finally wrapping up a long over due Master in Public Health degree with a concentration in Global Health Practice at the University of South Florida. (Do not misunderstand, I simply love USF and the College of Public Health so I stayed as long as I could!!! Take a look for yourself to see how amazing my Alma Mater just so happen to be: USF College of Public Health). For more information of my focal areas you can look here. Before walking across the stage December 14, I am required to complete a special project and an international field experience (internship) (you can explore the website for the details of the curriculum) and I finally confirmed one at the nick of time.
Through blood, sweat, tears, and most importantly prayer(!!!), over the course of a little over a year of constant negotiation I was invited by Saint Lucia’s Ministry of Health, Wellness, Human Services, and Gender Relations (will be referred to as MOH from here on out) 2 months into my final semester.
We discussed our expectations of the possible work that I would be doing and what we both would like to gain from this 2-month arraignment. Well ambitious little me–always looking for an opportunity to gain a rich experience–sent over what I would like to gain during this internship. I sent a formal letter to MOH which included a 27-item list of Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) competencies I would like to learn, further develop, or simply experience during my 2-month internship (most students have a list of no more than 5!!!). The following competencies are listed within their respective domains below:
ASHP Discipline-specific Competencies
Distinguish among the different measurement scales and the implications for selection of statistical methods to be used based on these distinctions.
Apply descriptive techniques commonly used to summarize public health data
Apply common statistical methods for inference
Interpret results of statistical analyses found in public health studies
|C 5||Comprehend basic ethical and legal principles pertaining to the collection, maintenance, use and dissemination of epidemiologic data|
|C 7||Calculate basic epidemiology measures|
|C 8||Communicate epidemiologic information to lay and professional audiences|
|C 9||Draw appropriate inferences from epidemiologic data|
|D. Health Policy and Management|
|D 4||Discuss the policy process for improving the health status of populations.|
|E. Social and Behavioral Sciences|
|E 5||Describe steps and procedures for the planning, implementation and evaluation of public health programs, policies and interventions|
|E 8||Apply evidence-based approaches in the development and evaluation of social and behavioral science interventions|
|E 9||Apply ethical principles to public health program planning, implementation and evaluation|
ASHP Interdisciplinary Competencies
|G. Diversity and Culture|
|G 5||Use the basic concepts and skills involved in culturally appropriate community engagement and empowerment with diverse communities|
|G 6||Apply the principles of community-based participatory research to improve health in diverse populations|
|H 5||Demonstrate team building, negotiation, and conflict management skills|
|H 6||Demonstrate transparency, integrity, and honesty in all actions|
|H 7||Use collaborative methods for achieving organizational and community health goals|
|H 9||Develop strategies to motivate others for collaborative problem solving, decision-making, and evaluation|
|J 2||Apply basic principles of ethical analysis (e.g. the Public Health Code of Ethics, human rights framework, other moral theories) to issues of public health practice and policy|
|J 3||Apply evidence-based principles and the scientific knowledge base to critical evaluation and decision-making in public health|
|J 4||Apply the core functions of assessment, policy development, and assurance in the analysis of public health problems and their solutions|
|J 9||Embrace a definition of public health that captures the unique characteristics of the field (e.g., population-focused, community-oriented, prevention-motivated and rooted in social justice) and how these contribute to professional practice|
|J 10||Appreciate the importance of working collaboratively with diverse communities and constituencies (e.g. researchers, practitioners, agencies and organizations)|
|K. Program Planning|
|K 5||Differentiate among goals, measurable objectives, related activities, and expected outcomes for a public health program|
|K 10||Assess evaluation reports in relation to their quality, utility, and impact on public health|
|L. Systems Thinking|
|L 10||Analyze the impact of global trends and interdependencies on public health related problems and systems|
|L 11||Assess strengths and weaknesses of applying the systems approach to public health problems|
|* Would like to further build on in an international setting.|
Needless to say that MOH agreed and dropped me in–dare I say–one of the most ambitious units (departments) I could have imagined!
What is that saying… “be careful what you ask/wish for?”