A rewarding professional experience

Written ny Chinmayi Venkatram, BA candidate at University of Pittsburgh and participant in the 2019 Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program – Public & Global Health Track

The past seven weeks of the Institute of Public Health Summer Research Program – Public and Global Health Track have been an enriching and rewarding professional experience. This summer, I worked with a multidisciplinary research team passionate about dissemination and implementation science, infectious disease, public health and medicine at the Brown School of Social Work.

This research experience has not only exposed me to new areas of research at the intersection of public health and medicine, but also has empowered me as a student researcher and young professional. In the last two months, I contributed to two separate manuscripts, presented at meetings and learned how to think like a qualitative researcher. The mentorship I received from Dr. Virginia McKay, research assistant professor at the Brown School, was pivotal to my research experience and challenged me personally and professionally. Personally, I pushed myself to learn on the job and engage in projects and skills where I had no prior experience. The opportunity to contribute significantly to her research projects was empowering because of the trust and responsibility she placed in me. Professionally, I learned how important dissemination and implementation science is to a career in medicine and public health. In the future, I see myself working closely with a dissemination and implementation scientist to successfully translate research findings into public health settings and ensure that these health interventions are sustainable.

What impressed me the most about this research experience was the culture and atmosphere of the Brown School of Social Work. The people I got to know through weekly lunches and meetings convinced me how truly interdisciplinary the Brown School of Social Work is. The work environment is genuinely respectful, friendly, supportive, collaborative and warm. It made me think more about the characteristics and qualities I want to see in the medical schools I will be applying to in the future.

Lastly, I will wholeheartedly miss the friends I have made in this program. Though the program was only eight weeks long, so many people in this program impacted me in unimaginable ways. I could not have asked for a better group of people to explore St. Louis with.

Thank you Institute for Public Health for an incredible summer experience!