As I waited at the airport to go back home in Michigan, my weeklong fieldwork consumed my thoughts. This week afforded me many priceless memories and skills for my public health future career journey. One of those was the application of my passion in adolescent and community health. As an aspiring future minority health leader, this week gave me a memorable community health field experience; through the work on the community health needs assessment. Starting with the recruitment and engagement with over 400+ college students. Working on this project gave me tools in survey design and methodology, pre-testing, needs assessment and community engagement, which are essential in community health. This project also gave me some insight on the need in health communications at a collegiate level. There are many inconsistencies and a great need to improve on how student receive health information. Another was working with an interdisciplinary group of fellow public health colleagues. In moving forward in my career I know that I want to work with a diverse group, to ensure a multidisciplinary and multiculturalism breadth of perspectives. Collaboration with partners is a huge asset in community health. This week’s field experience gave me a front row view of this in action. This experience allowed me to see the benefits from relationships and partnerships in serving the needs of communities.
In addition to the community health lessons, I also had to step outside of my comfort zone. Living and working in the Rio Grande Valley area emerged me in a different culture. The food, the language, the radio stations were all outside of my culture. One of my fondest moments on this trip, which was outside of my comfort zone, was visiting the Mexico Bridge. In this moment I was in between Texas and Mexico at the same time. This bi-national experience was priceless- Being outside of my comfort zone reminded me of how our salient culture identities influence our behavioral decisions. It’s okay and a good thing to step outside of our comfort zones. In a way it balances out our intentions and decisions and give you priceless moments.