Students and global health experts share their experiences working with communities.

Category: Renee

Global Women’s Health from Home

On the backend of my internship, I can now look back with an awareness of how much the projects I am working on have evolved since the beginning. I cannot believe that we are reaching the end of the practicum this week, it has flown by. I am truly grateful for the team I have been able to work with throughout this experience. It has been so helpful for my future career planning to interact with others in the field of global women’s health.

Work from Home Set-up

In the second half of the internship, I have spent the bulk of my time working on the division of Global Women’s Health website content and restructuring to convey the current research to wide audiences. I have particularly focused on producing written content for the page detailing the prevention of adverse birth outcomes. At first it was overwhelming to effectively summarize the work of so many different projects in various countries. But as I continued, I found greater focus and clarity as I emphasized the population impact that these projects carried. This reflective reminder came at an important time for me. I was feeling burdened down by the extensive complex problems, especially on a global scale (as that was the context I was working in). I was doubting the change I could affect on systematic and widespread issues. However, as I drafted material about the big picture, the why, and the goals of the division, it reemphasized to me the importance of individual contributions as a piece of the united effort.

Nightly walks at Lake Crabtree

As I conclude this internship I am grateful for the glimpse it gave me into the responsibilities of program managers, with an emphasis in communications. It was informative for me to see how a team of researchers, local and abroad interact to complete translational research for improved practice. This internship taught me the importance of not only performing research but also telling the story to a larger audience: funders, potential fellows, and the general public. I gained an understanding of the value in uniting teams towards a common vision while each person is focused on a unique aspect of the overall mission. I hope to transfer these skills into positions I will hold in the future.


Practicing gratitude in times of uncertainty

A lookout from a mountain and looking into the forest.

Taking in some views.

As most others can relate, it is disappointing to have an online program after a year of online coursework. However, this last year I have become well-acquainted with practicing gratitude in times of disappointment or uncertainty. I have found many things to be grateful for. First, I am grateful to be learning from and working alongside with many committed individuals through the UNC Division of Global Women’s Health. This is one of the Zambia Hub internships that focuses on program management and administration. Additionally, the flexibility of a remote practicum has allowed me to visit family and friends that I otherwise would not be able to! The flexibility has made it possible to pursue other interests as well without feeling like I am neglecting the valuable internship experience.

There are two projects I will be working on this summer, one for cervical cancer in low-resource settings and the other to address adverse birth outcomes. My responsibility is to design a suite of communication materials to indicate on a larger level how UNC is contributing to the body of research and clinical practice in novel and innovative ways. This has consisted of an orientation period in which I reviewed program quarterly and annual reports, proposals, and the literature from the researchers and others.  I have worked with my preceptor, the program manager, to interview the country leads to understand their need for communication materials as well as central themes and gaps in the research or practice. The website content I drafted will be up on the website somewhat soon!

Flowers looking out into the vast forest.


Lighthouse from a grassy area.


Overall, I am excited to gain some valuable insight into how a multi-level research program operates and how one manages several different projects at once. One of my favorite things I am learning is how important it is to keep perspective in how individual programs contribute to the overall goals of an organization. That being said, I know I have a lot to learn and look forward to that over the next several weeks!

Due to the remote format, I have been in the Triangle area rather than in Zambia. But I am happy to be able to explore some more of the beautiful state of North Carolina.

–       Renée