Abigail.ThomasI’m Abby a first year Global Health Epidemiology student. I was raised in a small town in Northeast Iowa. My hometown is so small there are no stoplights and kids have to go to the neighboring town for school. I love the color purple, polar bears, seeing movies with friends, and going on jogs. I received my Bachelor’s degree in biology and biochemistry from Central College, a small liberal arts college in the center of Iowa (hence the name). While at Central, I studied abroad in London for 4 months, and I feel in love with traveling. Since studying abroad and exploring what little part of the world I could, my desire to travel and help others expanded, which is one of the reasons I chose Global Health Epidemiology, here at Michigan. When I was at Central I participated in an alternative spring break trip, and I was amazed on what my team accomplished in such a short amount of time. Although my previous alternative spring break, where I went to Utah to help with biological restoration of flooded state and national parks, is very different from this upcoming trip, I jumped at the chance to go to Texas. I want to go to Texas to see, first-hand, how working with my public health team can make an impact. I’ll be working with a team of four to try to understand the challenges, barriers, and issues to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Southern Texas. We will be conducting semi-structured interviews with health care navigators to get their opinions and viewpoints on the implementation. This is the second phase of the project. The first phase of the project looked at the consumer’s point of view on the implementation. I hope this experience will help me see what the applied side of public health looks like, as well as working with a different culture. As odd as it may seem to say, Texas has a different culture than Michigan or Iowa or anywhere else in the world. I’m excited to not only help the community, but for the community to teach me what they need.


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