Summer 2010: My Experiences as a Global Health Leadership Intern

By Abby Hannifan
Vanderbilt University Student
Summer 2010 (May 10-June 23) Global Health Leadership Intern

This summer, as a Global Health Leadership Intern, I received the incredible privilege of coming to know and understand the history, inner-workings, and philosophy behind Unite For Sight’s mission to eliminate preventable blindness both domestically and internationally. Through the intensive process of researching pertinent articles in social entrepreneurship, health disparities and their remedies, community-based initiatives, and strategies in self-sufficiency for the impoverished, I now have a much better grasp of how positive health outcomes are most effectively achieved, as well as how sustainable development is best initiated.

With the technical support and encouragement of Jennifer Staple-Clark, CEO and Founder of Unite For Sight, I wrote several educational pieces targeted toward Global Impact Fellows in-training, as well as individuals seeking an enhanced understanding of the role that capacity-building and grassroots empowerment can play in creating high-impact, localized change.

My completed projects include:

Before interning at Unite For Sight, I thought I was pretty well-versed in matters of community development, creativity and sustainable enterprise, and global health. Through reading social change blogs, academic articles, the variegated philosophies of development “experts,” and a wide array of books and journals, my knowledge base and interest in matters of global health and international development expanded astronomically. As an added benefit, the dynamically engaging atmosphere of Unite For Sight—combined with the freedom and agency to nurture curiosity, inspiration, and self-initiative—is welcoming and challenging and exhilarating all at the same time.

I am overwhelmingly grateful that my Unite For Sight experience was so enriching and educational, and I am extremely eager to see where my newfound competencies take me—both personally and professionally.