My name is Erin Mundy and I am a rising Junior at Tulane University. I currently major in Public Health and Political Science, and am a member of the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta, and the sorority, Phi Mu. I am constantly exploring the intersection between public health and political science in regards to medicine, nutrition, and recovery, and global health; a true passion of mine. I am from San Diego, California, and live an active lifestyle playing lacrosse, practicing yoga, and spend a great deal of my time with friends and family.
The internship I am taking part in this summer is a medical integration internship at Tri-City Wellness in Carlsbad. I will be joining a team of four, to develop and run medical integration programs for cardiovascular, neurological, diabetic and cancer patients. My exact job at the internship has not yet been defined, but I am excited to get involved with the programming and the development. Since the team is fairly small, I look forward to working with a close-knit team and building relationships with the center. The five learning objectives I have for this internship are as follows:
1. My first objective is to better understand how diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and neurological defects affect people as they age. Tri-City wellness is currently focusing on these four ailments to direct the funding and programming towards. The conditions have a high enough prevalence to encourage participation, but by limiting it to four ailments allows the team to manage expectations and functioning of the programs. I want to learn how these diseases affect people as they age. Even within the age group that usually attends classes, which is about 45 to 80 years old, I would like to see how the 45-year-olds compare to the 80-year-olds in mindset, functionality, and knowledge of their disease/ailment.
2. My second goal is to develop and learn how to develop programs that aid people in recovery and management of symptoms. A main task of the team is to develop programs that are not only sound on a health and safety basis but also to develop programs that are marketable and to which people will actually attend. I learned already that the team had to relaunch the diabetes program as a strength program because no one would attend a program with a title of diabetes. I want to learn how marketing affects involvement and participation.
3. Thirdly, I want to learn how to understand how the elderly see and understand health, what health means to them, how they manage their health, and what their vision of health is in relation to their own well being. This ties into my first learning objective, but I would like to learn about the change in how health is perceived in our community, especially in a place such a Southern California which is deemed very health conscious.
4. My fourth learning objective is to learn how to be part of a small team and to work together to create programs and direct funding to programs that are the first of their kind in the nation. I want to further develop my group work skills and to learn how to correspond between a hospital and a facility, as that relationship has to be strong for medical integration programs to work. Furthermore, I want to learn what makes a team work, and how to get over hurdles of differences in opinion and things of the like.
5. Finally, I would like to develop leadership goals and confidence in leadership qualities while working with the team to develop myself as a better leader. This is a personal goal that I hope to further develop as I progress through the internship. I want to push myself out of my comfort zone, and take on bigger tasks at the internship when they are allocated to me. I want to become a stronger leader, by learning about my strengths and weaknesses. I want to encourage myself to listen and learn from people that know more than me but to also not let that stop me from taking charge of my internship.
I have found the same spirit of leadership that NCI promotes in myself in the acquisition of this internship. The internship I am completing this semester is not advertised or promoted through the Tri-City Wellness center. Over December break, I became curious about internship opportunities at the Wellness Center. The idea sat in the back of my mind for the spring semester, as I completed a Sustainable Nutrition course, a Health and Wellness Course, and a Controversies of Public Health Course. I began my search in February for summer employment, but could not find any offerings or opportunities at the center. I was determined to find an internship this summer that really sparked my interest, so I submitted an inquiry and my resume to an online concerns forum on their website. To my surprise, I received an email about two weeks later referring me to Jeremy Kneebush. We exchanged a few emails and set up an interview for spring break. I received verbal confirmation of the internship upon leaving the interview. I found myself being my own leader and being persistent for what I wanted in the acquisition of this internship. By being persistent, and sending multiple emails after not hearing back, I created this internship for myself. In accordance with NCI’s mission, I feel I am learning new leadership skills every day, and this internship will continue to develop me as a strong leader in the 21st century.
I am preparing for my internship by continuing my research and interest in health and wellness, nutrition and muscle recovery. After completing the three public health courses I mentioned above this past semester, my interest in the field of health and wellness has only grown. I hope to bring my knowledge to this internship, and learn from first-hand experience how ailments affect individuals in my community. Throughout the internship, I hope to continue researching and learning on my own time, to help develop my knowledge base and make me a better asset to the team at Tri-City Wellness.
What excites me most about this internship is the possibility of the unknown. As I am working with such a small team, I hope to develop strong connections with multiple members at Tri-City Wellness. I hope that I am able to work effectively with the team, but also be an active player in the development and implementation of the programming for the center. I truly have a passion for health and wellness and can not wait to see what this internship has in store for me this summer.