Noelle Serino, Research Consultant with The Root Cause Coalition
The Root Cause Coalition (TRCC), to provide a bit of context, is a non-profit, member-driven organization composed of 75 health systems, hospital associations, foundations, businesses, national and community nonprofits, health insurers, academic institutions and policy centers. The overall mission of the Coalition is to reverse and end the systemic root causes of health inequities for individuals and communities through cross-sector collaboration.
I started with TRCC in August of 2019 as their Health Equity Intern. I stayed on with them within this position until August of 2020 where I was asked to begin as a part-time Research Consultant beginning in September of 2020. As an Intern, I organized financial data and contact information in their NeonCRM, crafted and published a variety of blog posts, and researched the activities of partner and member organizations and published said activities in their member platform. The majority of my experience as an Intern with TRCC was helping out with whatever I was able – and this ended up including organizing and moderating sessions within their 600 person Annual Summit, contributing to their 2020 Status of Health Equity Report, and facilitating meetings with varying organizations interested in membership.
As a Research Consultant, my role has shifted more to focus on engaging with, researching, and compiling information on the activities of Coalition members and partners. I also track COVID-19 developments relating to the field of public health at a multitude of levels: federal, state, and local government; healthcare; hospital systems; non-profit; and direct service organizations.
The Leadership Program has shaped me in so many ways it’s hard to narrow it down. From the outset, the Leadership Program taught me the importance of collaboration and that leadership takes many different styles and forms – that there is no single way to be a leader. Every position I’ve entered during my time at AU – both internships and on-campus positions – have been shaped by my experiences within the Program. Within the context of my work with TRCC, I’ve learned the importance of collaboration, initiative, and hard work. A lot of success at the Coalition is achieved through collaboration – both internally and externally – and being able to strengthen existing skills and hone new ones.
Over the summer, I had the opportunity to, in addition to my work with TRCC, serve as a Health Policy and Research Intern with the Institute for Medicaid Innovation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and policy organization focused on providing evidence of innovative solutions that address important clinical, research, and policy issues in Medicaid. Within this position I had the opportunity to create a soon-to-be-published report on maternal health and postpartum depression within the Medicaid population during the COVID-19 pandemic. I also worked as part of a team to produce State Medicaid fact sheets that highlighted all 50 U.S. states, DC, and Puerto Rico’s state Medicaid plans including eligibility, programmatic offerings, history, ongoing developments, etc. Balancing these positions reinforced the importance of being able to challenge myself to grow while simultaneously making sure not to push myself beyond my limits. In this position I was able to better understand my public health passions and learn how to achieve success within an organization. Within my position at IMI, our team was recognized as being the most cohesive, successful, and well-organized of any team of summer interns because of our open communication, collaboration, and timeliness – all of which I learned through the SPA Leadership Program.
Be kind to yourself and give yourself grace. Not only is college a formative time but we’re living in a pandemic that is making so many of us re-evaluate ourselves and how we fit into the world around us. I’ve taken this time to critically reflect on myself and identify ways to continue to grow and better myself.
I think above all else, prioritizing yourself and your passions and doing what you love is the best way to achieve happiness and make positive change in the world.