In the Field: Austin Interns at Texas Public Health Networking Fair
[Editor’s Note: This news post follows two of our interns from Austin, Jensen Gary and Glad Nwaozo, as they represented Migrant Clinicians Network at a University of Texas-sponsored fair for students interested in public health and health justice. Here’s their take on the event.]
On April 7, we had the privilege to attend the Texas Public Health Networking Fair to represent both Migrant Clinicians Network and The Ventanilla de Salud of Austin. The fair was hosted by the Texas Public Health Organization and held on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. MCN was joined by several other companies, schools, and nonprofit organizations including Community Health Centers, Urban Roots, American Heart Association, Ross University School of Medicine, Texas Physicians for Social Responsibility, Travis County System of Care - Children’s Mental Health Awareness, and many more. This event was open to the UT community, but specifically targeted students who were Public Health majors, or those interested in health care, medicine, health disparities, or assistance to underserved populations. Since these topics are right up the alley of MCN’s core mission, MCN was asked to set up a table at the fair and tell the attendees about the work that we do and why we do it. We spoke to many of the fair’s attendees about the overall goal of the organization, the work of the case managers, our enriching experience as interns, and even why bridging the gaps in their health care is so important.
By tabling at the fair, MCN reached dozens of individuals and we were able to spread the word about the advocacy we do every day. We networked with leaders of other organizations and initiatives by discussing how MCN fits into the larger picture of public health. The people we encountered at the fair were incredibly passionate about public health and had a great interest in working with mobile populations. Twenty-five students signed up to receive more information about volunteering or interning with MCN. This large interest spoke to how relevant and important our work is. Speaking with some of the students really illustrated the bidirectional movement of information that fosters organizational growth by employing interns. One student had a background working with immigrants’ legal rights, while another held a position training Community Health Workers. We were not only given the ability to educate others on health care of the mobile poor, but we also heard feedback from others and their unique perspectives of the obstacles the population we serve must overcome.