Jasmine Carver - Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Global Health Concentration at YSPH 
Downs Fellow

Career goal: I hope to research health problems that disproportionately burden vulnerable populations and to contribute to the development of effective interventions.

Internship outline: I studied the associations between perceived social support and sexual risk behavior among Haitian teens and worked at GHESKIO, the first research center dedicated to HIV/AIDS prevention.  To study the variables that were of interest to us, we interviewed male and female adolescents ranging from 13 to 18 years old in private settings around the city.  The interview included measures of eight domains of social support and sexual risk factors such as consistency of condom use and number of sexual partners. Thanks mostly to an incredible research team, I boarded the plane home having met a lofty goal of 200 interviews.

Value of experience: Working on my project helped me apply the skills I gained from YSPH and refined my interests within the field of public health. I used concepts from my epidemiology courses throughout the design and implementation stages of my study.  With the responsibility of leading the study, the experience both reinforced my proficiency and prepared me for a future as a public health professional.  I now know that I want to continue to work on health research among impoverished populations. I hope to be a part of allocating attention to communities with limited resources, whether marginalized populations in developing countries or low-income populations in the United States.  My summer in Port-au-Prince was invaluable in helping to direct my future.

Best moment: Concluding the first full day of data collection.  Even with only two interviewers, logistic complications and no electricity, we completed sixteen interviews.  At the end of the day, we were laughing about my basic Creole while mopping up melted ice.