The third year of the SPA Leadership Program is dedicated to experiencing leadership off-campus in the setting of an internship. During this time, I served as the Health Equity Intern for The Root Cause Coalition (TRCC). TRCC is a small member-driven non-profit comprised of 76 stakeholders across the field of public health ranging from hospital systems and healthcare organizations to foodbanks and community-based non-profits. With a mission to end systemic health inequities through cross-sector collaboration, the Coalition is dedicated to creating the foundation for stakeholders to improve the lives of communities throughout the United States.
Throughout the course of my internship, I worked on a myriad of projects. One of the most noteworthy among these projects was that of the Theory into Action campaign. This campaign is a monthly event held by the staff of the Coalition where the theories surrounding health inequities and the social determinants of health as discussed by the Coalition are put into action. Thus, I selected, organized, and implemented the campaign for the month of November. The event was with Washington Parks and People, a locally-based non-profit whose mission is to grow city-wide park-based community health efforts through partnerships between stakeholders and the community. The event was spent harvesting and planting crops in their community gardens.
Other projects included writing informational pieces for the Coalition’s members, administrative and organizational tasks, as well as research-based initiatives. Among these other projects was my blog post on an interview with Kelly Bruno, the President and CEO of the National Health Foundation and an interview with Melissa Sobolik, the President of the Great Plains Food Bank, as well as a supplemental post written on her biography and the issue of rural health. Both of these pieces are featured on TRCC’s website.
Such an incredible experience focused not only my future career aspirations but also the importance and process of implementing the leadership theories and practices learned within the classroom and through my social action projects in the workforce.