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The power of Zoom

Written by Maya Terry, BA candidate at Washington University in St. Louis & participant in the 2020 Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program

In the face of COVID-19, the world has gone virtual. People are working and going to school from their homes. Internships and programs have been canceled or moved online.  The Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program – Public and Global Health Track turned into an “Abbreviated Track.”  Instead of meeting in person, the 2020 cohort gathers every morning on Zoom.

For the past three weeks, I have been logging on for 1-2 hours each day to hear from amazing speakers. The topics have spanned across pediatric, public health, and global health fields.  We have learned about issues such as racism in health, climate health, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, the importance of building trust in our partnerships and communities, the need for patient advocacy, and more.  I have gained a wide breadth of knowledge, but I am always most fascinated by the journeys people have described taking to get them to where they are today. Not only that, but the fellow members of my cohort ask thought-provoking questions that keep me engaged in our discussions. I am proud to be a part of an intellectual group of people willing to learn and make a difference in the world of healthcare.

To be honest, this version of the program is not what I could have ever anticipated. Even still, just because it is different, does not mean that it is bad.  In fact, I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this modified program. I appreciate being given the opportunity to participate in light of everything else going on in the world.  The program has made me more resolved to study public health and for that I could not be more grateful. It is a powerful thing to be able to come together with a group of people, even virtually on Zoom.