I can’t believe we leave for Texas in one week!
This semester has been such a whirlwind! I feel like I just applied to come on this trip and now here I am, two months and three midterms later, about to leave. And while I’ve spent the past few weeks preparing – researching the region, learning about our project, reviewing my Spanish – I still feel like I’m
going to arrive in Texas and be completely surprised. Surprised by the challenges of the work we’ll be doing, surprised by how different the culture in another region of the United States is, surprised by how big everything is (I’ve never been to Texas!).
But why I don’t I give you an idea of what we’ll be doing?
We’re heading down to the Rio Grande Valley region of Texas (the southern-most part of Texas, on the border with Mexico) to work on a community health assessment for the Hidalgo county health department. Our group of six students will be walking around a college campus trying to convince busy students to stop and take our survey about what health concerns they see in their community. In order to reach our goal we’ll each need to get about 20-25 surveys completed per person per day – based on my experience watching people try to hand out fliers on the diag here at Michigan, I think we have quite a challenge ahead of us. We’ll also be inputting their responses into a database and hopefully working on some preliminary analyses of their responses.
This trip is really important to me because it’s the first time I’ll actually be doing public health.
One of the first presentations that caught my eye at the SPH admitted students day was the one describing this Texas trip. I entered the MPH program directly out of undergrad so while I’ve spent many hours in the classroom developing a theoretical understanding of public health I don’t have a lot (read: any) applied public health experience. I truly think this experience will be mutually beneficial – they’ll get an eager public health student who will collect data for them and I’ll get the chance to experience public health from a non-academic viewpoint.