Summer 2011: My Experiences as a Global Health Leadership Intern

By Katherine Howe
University of Washington
Summer 2011 (August 22-September 23) Global Health Leadership Intern

This summer, I had the amazing opportunity to work as a Global Health Leadership Intern with Unite For Sight in New Haven. As an intern, I gained insight about the inner-workings of the organization and developed hands-on experience in public health and non-profit work with the guidance and support of personal role model Jennifer Staple-Clark, Unite For Sight Founder and CEO, and dedicated staff members, Lanch McCormick and Lila Kerr. At the headquarters, I spent my days researching global health topics in literature, articles, websites, TED talks, and videos and learning about various global health organizations to create academic resources for the Unite For Sight Global Health University. I was excited to be involved with expanding the Global Health University’s assets by developing academic resources that will be readily accessible online. In five weeks, I wrote the following articles and courses on global health topics: “Grassroots Fundraising Course”, “In-Utero Health and Interventions Online Course”, and “Willingness to Pay for Health Services in Developing Countries”. I also wrote blog posts for the Global Health & Innovation Blog: “Grassroots Fundraising - Why Do People Give?” and “What Do Willingness-to-Pay Studies on Health Services in Developing Countries Reveal?” Furthermore, I had the opportunity to learn about the extensive, behind-the-scenes preparation process and logistical planning for the annual Global Health & Innovation Conference and to review conference abstracts with staff members.

I first heard about Unite For Sight in 2007 from a friend who was preparing for a Global Impact Corps volunteer program in Ghana. After learning about Unite For Sight and the opportunities to volunteer not only abroad but also at universities, I knew that I wanted to get involved. As a freshman, I joined the University of Washington chapter of Unite For Sight, for which I am now the chapter president. For the past four years, I have been dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of eye health, as access to quality eye care is often overlooked for underserved groups. My involvement with Unite For Sight has led me to discover my passion for public health and has influenced my undergraduate studies and future career path. With each new experience in this organization, I gain appreciation for its effective approaches, from a leading financial model that promises that 100% of fundraising goes directly to eye care, best practices in global health, to its multi-faceted programs and service opportunities. Unite For Sight is a high-impact organization to which I am grateful to be contributing.

My internship with Unite For Sight has been an incredible learning opportunity that has broadened my knowledge about global healthcare delivery, helped me grow personally, and further solidified my commitment to global health. Most of all, I am grateful to have met and worked with dedicated individuals who share curiosity and a passion for improving global healthcare delivery. I would like to thank Jennifer for her continuous support, advice, and encouragement during both my involvement in the University of Washington Chapter of Unite For Sight and my summer internship. Jennifer’s dedication and organization are an inspiration, and it has been a privilege to gain a more comprehensive understanding of Unite For Sight’s model. Through this internship, my dedication to this organization has only grown. I am very much looking forward to continuing my involvement with Unite For Sight through the University of Washington chapter and returning to New Haven in April to attend and moderate at the 2012 Global Health & Innovation Conference.