I work for the New York State government, and today concludes the last day of my first week at work.
Ooo, a government job? Is it top secret work you’re doing?
Sorry to disappoint you, but no, nothing I’m doing is really confidential. In fact, our mission is to be as informative as possible! I work for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) in their Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response (OEPR, which sounds like Oprah, but not quite) as a Policy, Community Resilience and Response intern.
My two other intern colleagues and I work with the New York City Medical Reserve Corps (NYC MRC, I promise I’m done with the numerous acronyms now), a group of healthcare professionals who volunteer their time to respond to emergencies and disasters, as well as assist us with public health events. This summer, one of my main projects is to familiarize myself with a newly released volunteer data management system and update the files that are constantly changing.
In my spare time, one thing I do in my cubicle (I know, so fancy, my own little work area) is open letters and save the brochures. I’ve mentioned that MRC is made up of skilled healthcare volunteers, so the way we recruit is by sending brochures about MRC to all the healthcare professionals in NYC. Unfortunately, not all the addresses we had were up to date, so a lot of letters bounced back. That meant that we had thousands of envelopes to open every day. So instead of letting the brochures inside go to waste (because they were quite costly to produce), we keep them for the future recruitments.
Another thing I had to complete were trainings. Lots and lots of trainings. All DOHMH staff were required to take courses (complete with quizzes) on violence, gender identity, safety, and management and I was no exception. Oh what fun, three hours spent on such titillating online courses. But I guess at least now I have four certificates. Yay.
I obtained my internship through a separate program called Ladders for Leaders (L4L, whoops, I guess I wasn’t done with the acronyms), so in the first week of the internship, we had an orientation where I learned that there were over 30 of us college students working at DOHMH through L4L. The orientation/meeting was two hours long and in it, we learned more about DOHMH’s mission statement, public health, and the assistant commissioner was even trying to convert the lovers of sugar beverages to lovers of water. She did this by an interactive demonstration of how much sugar is in each of the popular beverages. No more soda/soder/pop for me!
Since we are a part of a public health agency, of course we have to bring the information to the public! So when there are fun events for the public in NY, we also provide blood pressure screenings because why not make it available to the masses who are already present? Thus, one of my supervisors taught us how to conduct blood pressure checks properly and provided some visuals to gauge the blood pressure readings. In case you were wondering, less than 140 (I am referring to the number on top) is fine, and below 120 is optimal.
Every Saturday, there are events in NY in all boroughs, and this week the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) hosted a block party (there was free food!). Even members of the New York Police Department (NYPD, but not the pizza place) came to partake in the festivities. Today, over 200 people came by our tent and got their blood pressures checked.
This short week (I started in the middle) was filled with a lot of new work in New York (why does that not rhyme?), but I already look forward to the next five weeks, when things will start to pile up. I will definitely have the chance to provide more blood pressure checks to communities (while practicing my one semester of Chinese Mandarin) and learn even more about public health.
Thank you for reading!