Internship location: Ansonia, Seymour, Meriden and Wallingford, Conn.
Career goal: To be engaged in public health practice. My focus is applied epidemiology, and I ideally want to work for a public agency in the area of infectious disease surveillance
Overdoses caused by prescription opioids are the leading cause of accidental death in Connecticut. Our goal was to collect adequate information in order to predict and prevent these deaths, and to develop a community-relevant response to the problem in towns that had experienced three or more such deaths in 2009. I conducted qualitative interviews with community stakeholders and performed background research, qualitative data coding, analysis and interpretation. Additionally, I participated in weekly meetings with the community advisory board and research core and prepared and presented data.
Value of experience:
Fieldwork is a crucial part of public health practice and research, and hands-on experience working directly with a diverse community is academically, professionally and personally instructive. The internship gave me the opportunity to be trained in qualitative data collection and analysis methods, which are best learned in the field rather than in a classroom. Working with my YSPH advisor and other faculty, who were members of the research core, YSPH alumni and staff at the Rhode Island Hospital was a valuable opportunity to network with other public health professionals.
The opportunity to work directly with a group of people and hear their perspectives about an important health problem affecting their community: unintentional prescription opioid overdose. The fact that our study was qualitative and deliberately included a wide range of stakeholders with vastly different opinions assured that we would get a real sense of community perspective.
Sarah Bowman, MPH '10, program coordinator for the study at the Rhode Island Hospital, presenting the power mapping process to the Community Advisory Board.
Traci Green, PhD '09, principal investigator for the study at the Rhode Island Hospital, presenting a GIS map of prescription opioid and methadone overdose deaths to the Community Advisory Board."
Traci Green, a YSPH alumna and principal investigator for the study at the Rhode Island Hospital, presents the final report to the Community Advisory Board.
Visual aids depicting frequently abused prescription opioid medications were used during interviews with study participants.
A power map depicting the complex interactions between the many different spheres that exert influence on prescription opioid overdose victims.
Robert Heimer, professor at the School of Public Health, and a member of the study’s Research Core, attending the presentation of the final report to the Community Advisory Board.
Roza Tammer, second-year MPH candidate in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, practices her qualitative interviewing skills with Nick Zaller, co-investigator for the study at the Rhode Island Hospital.
Sarah Bowman, YSPH alumna and program coordinator for the study at the Rhode Island Hospital, and Nick Zaller, co-investigator for the study at the Rhode Island Hospital, at the Community Advisory Board meeting.
Visual aids used during the dot-voting process to select local-level interventions to prevent prescription opioid overdose deaths.
Candy was offered to study participants to help establish rapport.
Cash was given to some study participants as compensation for their participation.