As July transitions into August, so the end of my internship officially begins. This past month has been hectic with vacations (both my own and other people’s) and grant proposal deadlines on top of the unceasing stream of cases (unfortunately diseases don’t respect holidays). Now as I look towards the last few weeks that I’ll be at the health department, I see the loose ends that need to be tied up and the work that has to be completed before I finish my time here. One of my main projects was trying to develop a internal database that the two divisions who handle foodborne illness complaints (environmental health and communicable disease) could share with the hope that communication would be increased, along with effectiveness and efficiency. It didn’t take me long to create such a system, but it has been much harder to try and implement it, as these two departments have real work to do everyday and need a functional platform. My goal in the next few weeks is to push hard to get helpful and important feedback so that I may make the necessary changes to the database and get it implemented.
As I look past this internship at my future career plans, I can’t help but feel incredibly blessed at how beneficial my experience here has been. The original reason I sought an internship at the health department was because of my interest in public health, and I have been exposed to all facets of it, from epidemiology to emergency preparedness, restaurants inspections to community outreach. My primary desire has always been to attend medical school; because of this internship, I discovered a new potential specialty that combines my desire to practice medicine with my interest in epidemiology: infectious disease. Between which speciality to choose, where to continue my education, and whether or not I’d like to pursue a dual MD/MPH degree, I have may decisions to make in the future and many opportunities to choose from. I’m incredibly excited to see where my experiences take me!