2018 PFIG Recipient Shadelle Gregory

Shadelle Gregory – July 1st, 2018

Shadelle Gregory

2018 PFIG Winner
Shadelle Gregory
Major: Global Public Health
UVA 2019

Internship: VCU Center for Society and Health, Richmond, VA

Read about my internship

Journal Entry #1

During my first month here at the Center on Society and Health, I have learned an extensive amount of information about data analysis and data collection. More importantly, I have been able to assist my coworkers in ongoing projects. The team at the Center are overwhelmingly informative and knowledgeable about their jobs and roles, and have essentially taken me under their wing. Public Health falls under a plethora of fields and this internship has showed me the various roles I can play within this field. The first month of my internship has been fairly slow due to the types of projects occurring in the Center as of now. However, each project reinforces the importance of the social determinants of health, which are the main reasons for an individual's health status and health outcome. Within the Center, there are various individuals who make up the team to function accordingly including epidemiologists, a community engagement team, biostaticians, a community engagement team, and an individual that handles the logistics of the Center. More importantly, the Center works closely with various stakeholders in the city of Richmond, including the residents of Richmond. This fosters a collaborative and trusted foundation for creative, engaging projects that target pressing issues within the community.

There are various projects happening at the Center, but there is one in particular that I have been working closely with called the Health of the States (HOTS) project. The HOTS project is assessing “the health of the states”, by comparing all 50 states and the District of Columbia on 39 health outcomes and their correlation with 123 factors across the socioecological framework that could serve as an explanation for disparities across states; these factors are the social determinants of health such as the neighborhood one lives in, education, race, gender, income, access and coverage to healthcare, etc. Most of these factors are assigned to an individual at birth and are irreversible; however, there are ways in which to change systems to alleviate the burden of disease and inequity among disadvantaged individuals. This project broadens the scope beyond Richmond and creates a national story about health disparities and inequities. I am responsible for collecting and organizing data to create a database for the Health of the States (HOTS) project. I am using two databases called CDC Wonder and WISQARS, which allows me to pull information on different causes of mortality by state and race/ethnicity. Once this data is organized, I will analyze the data by comparing the death rates between and among races.

I am also responsible for creating weekly blog posts about different organizations and people who are working towards improving the social determinants of health, whether it be indirect or direct. Many of these organizations work with the Center on past and present projects. There is an amazing effort being made by community members and organizers within the city to combat the negative effects of poverty and the domino effect of such that impacts health. One stakeholder in particular that works closely with the Center is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has been working with communities to help achieve health equity and to provide Americans with the opportunity to have a healthier life. In 2017, Richmond received the RWJF Culture of Health Prize because of their work in building wealth, establishing healthier housing, and advocating for food equity. All of these issues contributes to the health of individuals, families, and essentially generations. The work done by the Center and community stakeholders are necessary and highlights the important work of Public Health. More importantly, this internship solidifies the need for individuals to serve as a voice for disadvantaged communities. I am looking forward to learning more from this experience and how I can serve as that voice for my community!

Journal Entry #2

more information coming soon...

Journal Entry #3

more information coming soon...