The New York University College of Nursing’s Mobile Health Van Program (NYUCN-MHVP) for the second year has sponsored a pair of Brooklyn high school students for the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center’s (BHDC) “Health Disparities Summer Internship Program. This year, 21 students with 14 summer projects presented their research findings at an awards ceremony at Brooklyn Borough Hall, August 3, 2012. The NYUCN-MHVP sponsored Stephanie Collins and Alyssea Sealey for their project, “Language Barriers in Adolescent Health in Brooklyn.”
“The most important part of our research was the interviews,” Sealey said. “Meeting with these health care providers in person gave us a more in-depth look at how language barriers affect access to healthcare in Brooklyn,” she said.
Collins added, “Since my family came here from the West Indies, this project was very near and dear to my heart. We wanted to learn how to ensure that people like my family have a better experience at their healthcare provider’s office. We wanted to make their voices heard,” she said.
“The research project the [NYUCN-MHVP] interns completed this year related to identifying language barriers and how they affect access to health care,” said Judith Haber, PhD, APRN, BC, FAAN, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, College of Nursing (NYUCN). “Their findings will help us design a health literacy program for our students at Prospect Heights and Brooklyn International High Schools who are recent immigrants to the United States.”
“The internship program is an inspirational experience for high school students interested in pursuing careers in a health profession,” said Haber.
BHDC is a partnership between the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, the SUNY Downstate Medical Center and the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President. Its summer internship program recruits participants from the Institute's Health Science Academy program, a 3-year science enrichment program for high school students interested in pursuing careers in the health professions. As interns, they receive didactic training on the social determinants of health, and collaborate with community based organizations to conduct research projects.
“This program, which is in its third year, provides a unique opportunity for students to have practical experience in conducting health disparities research,” said Marilyn Fraser-White, MD Associate Director, Research/Training (Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health) Director, Community Engagement (BDHC).
“Both the students and the community based organizations benefit tremendously from this opportunity. We hope that the collaboration between the CBOs and the students in conducting community based research will also serve to promote the students' aspirations to pursue careers in health and return to serve their communities as health professionals,” Fraser-White said. Part of the Institute’s mission is to address health disparities by increasing minority representation among the health care professions.
“I want to go into the healthcare field as a pediatrician,” said Collins. “Doing this project on language barriers in healthcare makes me want to take a second language in college and master it. Also, learning different cultures and customs would make me more approachable as a healthcare professional,” she said.
The New York University College of Nursing is a global leader in nursing education, research, and practice. It offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing; Master of Arts and Post-Master’s Certificate Programs; a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree; and a Doctor of Philosophy in Research Theory and Development. For more information, visit www.nyu.edu/nursing.