This is my first term as a full-time student and I am very excited to contribute to OHSU’s StudentSpeak blog, as well as represent the school’s two MPH programs this year as Campus Representative. Prior to Fall 2012, I was taking the “snail trail” to my MPH while working full-time in Blood Services at Portland Red Cross.

With demography and social stratification as my focus, I completed my undergraduate work through an internship in Pen, India. My gratitude for this opportunity cannot be overstated, where duties included conducting nutritional surveys of tribal villages, assisting the Mobile Health Unit (a traveling dispensary), taking body mass index measurements and lastly, organizing these tasks into a health pamphlet for donors, staff and clients. Upon my return, I spent two years focusing on public health initiatives for the pandemic flu and measles, emergency response and CPR/1st Aid instruction through AmeriCorps at the Red Cross.

My most recent position (phased out due to financial restructuring) helped reignite a passion for primary care and health disparities through work with blood/platelet/plasma transfusion recipients. Many of these patients are part of the at-risk population for organ and/or bone marrow transplantation. Between access to health services, waiting list ratings (due to prohibitive risk factors) and donor organ shortages (due to ethnic background/blood type and donor pool availability), this diagnostic group is one I’ve grown familiar with and hope to focus on for future internship and career prospects.