For the second year, the College of Nursing’s Mobile Health Van Program has sponsored two Brooklyn high school students for the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center’s summer internship program. This year, 21 students with 14 summer projects presented their research findings at an awards ceremony at Brooklyn Borough Hall on August 3. The program 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 says. “Meeting with these health-care providers in person gave us a more in-depth look at how language barriers affect access to health care in Brooklyn.
“Since my family came here from the West Indies, this project was very near and dear to my heart,” Collins adds. “We wanted to learn how to ensure that people like my family have a better experience at their health-care provider’s office. We wanted to make their voices heard.”
The Brooklyn Health Disparities Center 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 three-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.
“The research project the interns completed this year related to identifying language barriers and how they affect access to health care,” says Judith Haber, associate dean of graduate programs at the College of Nursing. “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.”