Hi there! My name is Kylie Yocum, and I am a rising senior at Tulane majoring in Public Health with minors in International Development and Management.
This summer I will be interning at Brotherhood, Inc., right here in New Orleans. Brotherhood, Inc., is a non-profit organization that strives to serve communities who are oft left behind in our healthcare system, focusing on the HIV epidemic in New Orleans. In practice, this means that Brotherhood provides free testing, education, and linkage to care for communities in New Orleans like sexual and racial minorities, both of which are disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic in the United States due to socioeconomic barriers and stigma. I have many learning objectives for this summer, and many of them surround the concept of cultural competency. I wish to engage these communities in a way that optimizes help and minimizes any harm, and learning to communicate and engage in a culturally competent way is critical to these practices. Also, I hope to analyze the specific ways in which social determinants of disease in New Orleans affect these communities, and how these determinants can be managed or even mitigated. I also aim to understand how to effectively deliver health communication to a city-wide audience.
NCI’s mission is to educate undergraduate women for leadership in the 21st century. My internship plays into this mission for me specifically as I will be given ample support and opportunity to spearhead projects independently in the office and in the community, which I am eagerly anticipating. This past semester I took a class for my Management minor called “The Realities and Mythologies of Leadership,” and the class focused on different styles of leadership, one being servant leadership. A key element of servant leadership is striving to make your community the best it can be, and that aspect is why I am so excited to be working in New Orleans this summer with such a critical Public Health issue.
To prepare for this internship, I have been watching different documentaries on HIV/AIDS, both in the United States and internationally. It is interesting to compare the policies and protocols for each area dealing with an HIV epidemic. The fall semester of my Junior year, I was able to study community health in Durban, South Africa, a region of South Africa that is at the epicenter of the HIV pandemic globally. Since being in the United States, it has been fascinating to notice how our country approaches community health and infectious disease.
Some other aspects of the internship that excite me are the opportunities to have hands-on, real-life learning occurring in a community in New Orleans that is out of the “Tulane bubble.” It has been so fascinating to learn and discover Uptown, New Orleans, but the chance to discover a different area of New Orleans is exciting. I am also excited to work and study an infectious disease that I find particularly interesting given is sociocultural implications–the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. I hope that learning more about this disease will help guide my future Public Health goals and ambitions.