Caroline Starling, a Social Inequality, Health & Policy BDP student, connected her interests in medicine and public health as an intern with the Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas (WHFPT). As a Research and Evaluation Intern, she assisted with data analysis related to Title X funding and agencies’ financial sustainability.
How did you find your internship?
I knew I was interested in women’s health for a while and was hoping to have a research-oriented internship at a non-profit. The application information to apply for the Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas (WHFPT) internship was posted on the BDP Opportunities Blog, and I jumped at the chance to apply.
Describe the work you did in your internship.
The WHFPT is the sole Title X grantee for the state of Texas. As a Research and Evaluation Intern, I assisted with data entry, cleaning, and analysis. My main research project was on the topic of financial sustainability, or an agency’s ability to continue effectively serving clients over time.
What was the most rewarding aspect of your Connecting Experience?
WHFPT’s mission, to ensure that Texans, regardless of financial or insurance status, have equal access to high-quality reproductive services, highly resonated with me. The Connecting Experience helped me to see the importance of public health research to improving population health outcomes and provided a chance for me to practice skills I had developed in my UT courses. Overall, I feel that my experience helped me grow as a researcher and broadened my outlook on women’s health tremendously.
In what ways has this Connecting Experience shaped your plans for the future?
I arrived at UT knowing I wanted to become a physician and that I was interested in public health. However, I was less certain how to two could be integrated. This Connecting Experience helped me see how I can bridge my interests in medicine and public health through research. Further, throughout my 3.5 years at UT, I have developed a passion for improving health outcomes of underserved populations. In addition to serving patients in a clinical setting, I desire to contribute to the conversation and research on addressing the needs of underserved groups. Working at WHFPT was the perfect place to begin working toward and refining this goal.