Health Education with a Health Disparities Focus

Genevieve Craven
Emphasis Area
Public Health

Genevieve Craven interned with the University of Arizona's Sarver Heath Center and delivered health education with a health disparities focus.

How did you find your internship and why did you choose this opportunity?

I connected with my current internship supervisor after she was a guest speaker for one of my classes. She spoke about health disparities and I was so inspired by her stories and conviction that I knew I wanted to support her program in any way I could. I obtained her email through my professor and contacted her on my own, asking if there was any opening for an intern with her. After a few emails back and forth and a brunch interview, she took me on as her intern for the year!

The internship with the Sarver Heart Center also made strategic sense because it is very closely related to my career goal of being a cardiothoracic surgeon, and also related to the humanistic education that I’d received at the University of Arizona. I appreciated that this opportunity would bridge the gap between my two majors and also potentially lead into my honors thesis.

What did you accomplish with your internship?

One of my major projects from this semester was creating the annual newsletter for my program. I gave feedback on the overall theme for the newsletter, created specific article topics for our different committee members to write, and wrote a couple of my own articles. Then, once we had everyone’s articles, I spearheaded the design of the entire newsletter based on prior newsletters, UA branding regulations, and my own understanding of design and flow. Ultimately, I am very proud of my contributions to this particular project and I am looking forward to seeing it in print in the next semester.

Another favorite part of my internship was leading CPR training for different community groups. I wanted to be able to give back to my community and was given the opportunity to do so through these training sessions.  These events were the most rewarding because I could actually see the impact I was making in the moment. I also love interacting with community members because they give direct feedback about their experiences.

What new knowledge and skills did you develop in this internship?

One of the primary focuses for this internship was expanding my knowledge about health disparities. I learned about individual’s personal experiences with health discrimination; community perceptions about medicine, research, and doctors; and about the potential ways that health disparities can be addressed. This knowledge is extremely important to me because I want to prioritize providing culturally sensitive and compassionate care to all my future patients, so I need to understand the different barriers people may face and advocate for them. I also had many opportunities to practice public speaking and presenting, gain networking experience, and develop my writing skills.

What did you find most challenging about your internship?

The most challenging thing about this internship was making sure I got all my hours. Traditional internships often include going into some office, doing regular tasks, and clocking your hours. My internship had less daily structure and required more independence. Because of this, I learned how to advocate for the hours I needed, create my own projects and ask for other responsibilities, and communicate my ideas to my internship coordinator.

What advice do you have for other students as they search for their internship?

My biggest advice to other students is to be bold in advocating for yourself. I never would’ve had the chance to do this internship if I hadn’t taken the leap of reaching out to that guest speaker. It can be a bit intimidating to email or cold call a professional, but they are often excited to learn that others are interested in what they are working on. The worst that can happen is that they say no. Take chances and get yourself an internship that excites you so that you can look forward to it every day!