Summer 2012: My Experiences as a Global Health Leadership Intern
By Yang (Sunny) Li
Columbia University Student
Summer 2012 (May 14-June 8) Global Health Leadership Intern
This summer, I had the amazing opportunity to work as a Global Health Leadership Intern at Unite For Sight’s headquarters in New Haven, Connecticut. As an intern, I gained a lot of insight into the inner workings of this organization. I observed our ability to cut overhead costs (so that 100% of donations goes to funding eye care services), the intensive planning that goes into the Global Health & Innovation Conference, and the dedication of the staff members in advancing global health, just to name a few.
Throughout the internship, I developed the following articles and courses:
As a part of the Certificate in Nutrition, Food, and Hunger, I developed courses on Food Safety and Hunger: Malnutrition and Overnutrition. These courses were developed to illustrate the challenges of providing the proper food and nutrition to every person.
As part of the Environmental Health Course, I developed a comprehensive module to illustrate the dangers of toxins that surround us. The Toxin Exposure Among Children module explores the major environmental toxins that create health concerns for all people, especially children.
- Having attended the Global Health Innovation Conference held in April 2012, I wrote blog posts to share my opinions and the knowledge I gained from a few of the sessions that I attended:
- "Overcoming Barriers by Using Humor and Animation to Create a Cultural Shift," Firdaus Kharas, Chairman, Chocolate Moose Media and Global Shift
- "The Akili Initiative: An Online Student Think Tank for Global Health," Katherine Warren, Co-Founder, Co-Director, The Akili Initiative
- "The Global Think Forum," Kevin Xu, Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Global Health; Undergraduate, Columbia University
- "Cultural Barriers to Vision Care in Three Non-Western Countries," Alim Ramji, Undergraduate Student, University of Oklahoma; Unite For Sight Global Impact Lab Alumnus
- "Expanding Surgical Care for the Bottom Billion," Selwyn Rogers, Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
- Having been president of the Columbia University chapter of Unite For Sight when we were awarded the Chapter Fundraiser of the Year Award, I developed a fundraising advice page so that other chapters can also go above and beyond the annual fundraising goal.
- I researched speakers to invite to the upcoming Global Health & Innovation Conference in April 2013. From surfing the internet for speakers, I discovered exciting ideas and innovations in advancing global health.
In addition to learning about global health issues through research, I also enjoyed sharing ideas and knowledge with other staff members at Unite For Sight. I was amazed by the dedication and knowledge that all of our team members offered. I am also grateful to have shared so many great learning experiences with the other staff members, including Rachel Turkel, Annie Martin, and Dana Callahan. Even during lunch breaks, we often found ourselves engaged in conversations about healthcare, ranging from the current status of health policy in America, to public health, to global challenges. Through these interactions, I developed a much deeper understanding of healthcare, and stayed up-to-date with public health developments.
This internship was truly rewarding, as I learned a lot about global and public health. I began this internship knowing that Unite For Sight provides many great opportunities for people who cannot afford or access necessary healthcare treatments. I had once thought my involvement with our campus chapter of Unite For Sight made me well-versed in global health. However, as I began digging deeper into research articles and interviews with global health experts, I realized how little I actually knew. As a result, I came out of this internship wanting to further pursue my interests in global health and healthcare in general. Therefore, I look forward to working closely with the Unite For Sight team through our Columbia University chapter, and I am also excited to continue my career in the healthcare industry.