Spring 2017: My Experiences as a Global Health Leadership Intern

By Sarah Abdelhadi
University of North Texas Health Science Center
Spring 2017 (January 3 - May 5) Global Health Leadership Intern

I discovered the Unite For Sight Global Health Leadership Internship after attending the Global Health & Innovation Conference in 2016. I loved the emphasis on local engagement, integrity, humility, and cultural competency in global health initiatives at the conference, so I felt this internship would be a great way to complete the practicum required for my MPH program while supplementing my education in global health.

At first I was a little worried I might end up in a dark corner doing busy work as happens with some internships, but Unite For Sight does a wonderful job of making sure you feel like you're an integral part of the team. The projects provided to interns are meaningful, useful to the organization, and thoughtfully assigned with your interests and skills in mind. As an epidemiology major and a former data analyst, it was very important to me to gain experience in working with health data collected in the field. I was fortunate to be provided with several sets of patient data from Unite For Sight's partner clinics in Ghana and research data from Global Impact Corps volunteers to clean and analyze. These projects allowed me to see firsthand some of the challenges of gathering data in low-resource settings that I'd learned about in my classes, as well as to better understand the true impact of the work of Unite For Sight's partner clinicians in their communities.

Because I interned in the spring, I had the unique opportunity to be highly involved with the annual Global Health & Innovation Conference. Having attended the conference the previous year, it was fascinating to be on the other side and witness the incredible amount of time and effort required to host such a renowned event. Among many other tasks, I assisted in reviewing abstract and pitch submissions, researching potential speakers, organizing the speaker schedule, and coordinating conference-related social media activity. It was fantastic to finally put faces to the names of all the professional and student speakers we'd been working with in the preceding months, as well as to network with other attendees involved in virtually every aspect of global health and social innovation. As someone about to embark on a career in global health, this aspect of the conference was particularly salient for me.

My internship with Unite For Sight helped me to reaffirm my commitment to responsible global health work, make valuable connections with many amazing people involved in the field, and learn lessons I will undoubtedly carry with me throughout my career.