For the first time in two years, Princeton University students traveled nationally and internationally for a summer internship in global health.of Health and Welfare Center in (CHW) School for Public and International Affairs (SPIA) sponsored 91 opportunities for research, dissertation projects, and other health-focused initiatives.
Some internships were done remotely, but most were onsite. With the easing of travel restrictions resulting from the new phase of the COVID pandemic, students are visiting many destinations in Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, South America, and the United States, with everything from antimicrobial resistance to brain tumor treatments, childhood vaccinations, and more. We were able to explore a wide range of topics, ranging from barriers to mental health impact of COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries.
Gilbert Collins, Director of Global Health Programs and Co-Director of CHW, said: “While his virtual work is valuable and challenging, on-site internships allow students to engage more deeply with local culture and stakeholders.”
These fully-funded internships are open to all Princeton University undergraduate and graduate students and will enhance your academic coursework in a meaningful way. Students gain perspectives on global health while formulating ideas for additional research, advanced education, and careers.
Student workplace visit
In July, CHW’s staff team visited two new partner organizations’ student interns. The Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fio Cruz), a health research and development agency in Rio de Janeiro, and UNICEF South Africa, based in Pretoria. The meetings revealed extraordinary student work and eye-opening experiences.
In many cases, internships exposed students to the practical aspects of global health for the first time.
“I have traveled internationally, but never worked or studied in another country,” said a chemical concentrator seeking a Global Health and Health Policy (GHP) certificate. said Michelle Wang ’23. “My internship at Fioculus brought what I read in class to life and helped me understand what global health looks like in the real world.”
For eight to ten weeks, CHW-sponsored interns worked with clinicians, scientists, and academics to assess and improve public health. Wang explores the impact of natural disasters on the mental and physical health of Brazilian citizens and develops strategies for building stronger and more resilient communities.
Also at Fiocruz, Safiya Topiwala ’24, a molecular biology concentrator who is about to obtain a GHP certificate, will study how leprosy is diagnosed and treated in Brazilian clinics while working in the laboratory. I also conducted research in “This kind of research has the potential to improve our understanding of how leprosy and infectious diseases are managed,” Topiwara said.
Other Fioculus interns have worked in the institution’s technical science department and hospitals for women, children and adolescents, investigating health and environmental issues, and shadow doctors treating patients with high-risk pregnancies. I did.
“When you visit a country with a unified public health system, you learn a lot about health equity,” said Johnson Lin ’25, who is considering a focus on ecology and evolutionary biology.
SPIA’s MPA Candidate Aliza Francisco spent her summer with UNICEF South Africa. Her first contact with UNICEF came in 2013, when a devastating typhoon hit her native Philippines, killing thousands. UNICEF was one of the first responders on the scene. That inspired her desire to support the agency’s mission to improve the lives of children.
Dedicated to international development and urban policy, during his internship Francisco will analyze national immunization data to identify challenges, barriers and bottlenecks facing unvaccinated children in South Africa. did. Her analysis and recommendations have been submitted to the country’s highest health advisory board, which has provided information to strengthen the country’s immunization program.
“This summer, I learned how important immunizations are to the health of the world. It’s the first touchpoint with infants, children, and sometimes mothers,” she said.
By improving national immunization coverage through research and informed community initiatives, she reduces the prevalence of preventable diseases such as measles and polio, and contributes to the overall health and well-being of South African families. Emphasized ways to improve welfare.
Shaping life at home and abroad
Global Health Program internships are not only intended to provide opportunities for meaningful summer engagements, but also to stimulate future academic and professional work in the global health field. I return to Princeton with a broader vision of global health and a renewed sense of purpose. Some students feel confident in their chosen academic field, while others embark on a completely new path.
The intended molecular biology concentrator, Tiffany Tsai ’25 rekindled her childhood ambitions. After losing her grandfather to cancer when she was four, she developed her curiosity about medicine and an inquisitive mind about fighting disease. Her summer internship in Brazil strengthened her determination to improve public health and bridge the gap between modern medicine and vulnerable communities.
Joao Perez ’23, Medical Anthropology Concentrator pursuing GHP Certificate, and Philosophy Concentrator pursuing Neuroscience Certificate, Nhuquynh Nguyen ’23, affirmed her passion for maternal and child health. “Working in a public hospital reinforced my desire to open a free medical clinic in the United States or South America that could impact the lives of thousands of people in low-income communities,” Perez said. says.
Nguyen focused on women’s health care and advocacy, especially reproductive rights. She hopes to apply the insights she gains from her studies in Brazil to her work with the Princeton Student Organization for Reproductive Justice on her campus.
Overall, students emphasized that summer internships have profound and long-lasting effects, both personally and professionally.
“I have learned that health care begins with compassion in all situations,” added Topiwara. Topiwara observed the simple “beauty” of showing people that you care.The aspiring doctor said she will apply her lessons to her future medical practice practice and all pursuits in life.