Zaynah Abid - New York

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Internship location: New York, N.Y.
Career goal: To work at a local, state, or federal public health agency

Internship summary:
During my internship at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), I provided support to the climate-change epidemiology team. The team was involved in the development of Health Impact Assessments for four climate-change related events in NYC: heat waves, coastal storms/flooding, air pollution and power outages. The goal was to determine the increased risk of mortality or morbidity that will occur in NYC as a result of projected increases in these events over the next century. Although I conducted research in all of these areas, my primary focus was in the area of coastal storms and flooding.

Value of experience:
My internship provided me with direct experience working in a local public health agency, a resource on which I will be able to draw as I move forward with my career. I was able to apply knowledge acquired through formal coursework in environmental health and epidemiology to a real public health concern. The health impact of climate change is often an overlooked issue, but the potential effects of coastal storms in particular remain a real threat to New Yorkers (and are especially relevant in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene). The work that I performed will ultimately be part of a published report and will hopefully have far-reaching implications for the future health of city residents.

Best moment:
The weekly intern seminars, which showcased the work of different divisions and bureaus throughout DOHMH—from HIV services in the Bureau of Correctional Health Services to media and education campaigns in the Bureau of Tobacco Control—gave me exposure to a range of local public health initiatives and allowed me to further refine my own areas of interest. And nothing beats living in NYC during the summertime, with its wide range of social, cultural and educational events at your fingertips!