Written by Colette Cambey, BA, Vassar College and participant in the 2019 Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program – Public & Global Health Track
The Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program – Public and Global Health Track at Washington University in St. Louis has been my first exposure to true public health research. I’m ecstatic to be working with Dr. McKay, Research Assistant Professor at the Brown School, in dissemination and implementation (D&I) science research about HIV linkage-to-care interventions.
This program has impacted me professionally by exposing me to a new research team and environment, expanding my professional network, and increasing my comfort level in a new sphere of research. Personally, this program has impacted me by introducing me to a good-hearted and warm group of people I get to share my summer with. These people care about the world and want to learn and enjoy their time in St. Louis—it’s such fun to share a summer with them.
Thus far, I have learned about the reality of St. Louis’ racial and socioeconomic inequity. As I explore more cities, the same patterns seem to unfold. I’m grateful to this program for grounding us and our studies in the social landscape of the city we now call home.
As we explore different avenues of public health in our careers, I deeply believe in the importance of keeping work local and reflecting on issues such as poverty and lack of access to health services that are just as present in our own backyards as they are across the globe. I’ve also learned about D&I research and the HIV care continuum in the context of evidence-based interventions. In preparing research briefs, I hope my work helps translate scientific information to the broader community.
By the end of the program, I hope to contribute significantly to a manuscript detailing an agent-based modeling approach to studying HIV linkage-to-care interventions. This is my first time working on such a project, and I feel so empowered and trusted by my mentor to contribute towards her research in such a major way. In another brand-new experience for me, I’m thrilled to learn more about the writing process and disseminating research findings out to the greater community.