Leah Thi Le
Career goal: Become a physician and public health practitioner working in the field of HIV prevention.
Internship outline: Leah worked with the Center for Supporting Community Development Initiatives in Hanoi, Vietnam to evaluate the working relationship between governmental agencies and community-based organizations (CBOs) for drug users and sex workers. These marginalized groups are among the driving forces of HIV transmission in the country; therefore, there is a high demand for outreach programs, like the CBOs, to educate these at-risk individuals on safe health care practices. The sole funders for these CBOs are withdrawing from Vietnam. Thus, for these CBOs to continue social work in HIV prevention, the Vietnamese government will need to step in.
Value of experience: Through talking and learning from the personal experiences of the former drug users and sex workers, I gained valuable insight to inter-personal communication that I would not have attained through everyday conversation with family, friends and teachers. I hope to use this practicum as a bridge to connect me with future projects in Vietnam in the arena of health promotion and community development.
Best moment/experience: I thoroughly enjoyed traveling to the northern and southern regions of Vietnam to conduct the interviews. Not only did I get to talk with people from various backgrounds, but I also had the opportunity to see the contrasting cultures in the two poles of the country.
Leah Thi Le
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- Working with SCDI, Leah’s host NGO in Vietnam, whose mission is to improve the quality of life of marginalized and vulnerable populations.
- Presenting the findings of summer project on the last day of the SCDI internship.
- Leah works with the deputy director of advocacy, examining the NGO’s annual performance.
- Attending a talk by Kathleen Sebelius on Global Health Security at the Hanoi Medical School on June 16, 2013.
- Sebelius discusses the state of global health security and the readiness of the United States to help Vietnam improve its public health.
- Rush hour on Monday morning is a busy—and noisy—time.
- A collage of activities by the coalition Going Home. The group provides a safe haven for drug users, sex workers, and lovers of drug users. It was established by former drug users and sex workers.
- The 6 a.m. flag-raising ceremony at the mausoleum for Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi.
- SCDI staff pose for a picture after a project presentation.
- Leah is delighted to receive a certificate of acknowledgement for her commitment to working at SCDI throughout the summer.