lone pine
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Harvard School of Public Health: a big stone building

I start work at 10 am on Mondays and Wednesdays and at 9.30 am on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. I wake up about an hour before work, which gives me enough time to get ready, have a quick breakfast, and make it to work on time because I have been lucky enough that our college-arranged housing in MassArt dorms is quite close to my workplace. It only takes me about 18 minutes to get to work! 

I start my day at work by picking up the social needs screens given to patients before their appointments, which ask about their needs related to housing, food, transportation, utilities, etc. I work only with adult medicine patients, while some of my fellow interns at the Dimock Center work with pediatrics and OB/GYN. I enter the social needs information into our electronic system so that we can keep track of patient needs and know how to outreach to them. If I have not received any voicemail, I proceed to work with the caseload my supervisor assigned me. My job is outreach to patients according to their social need information. Some patients need what we call a "rapid resource referral," meaning that we rapidly determine needs with an initial call, give them appropriate social need resource information, and close the case after encouraging the patient to reach out if more needs arise. Other cases require more frequent follow-up until client needs are met. For instance, I am currently working on a furniture bank referral for a patient who is moving into the community after living in a shelter. That case will remain open until the client receives their furniture. It is fulfilling to be able to see patients meet their needs, which is unfortunately rare with rapid resource referrals. Issues such as housing take a long time to resolve due to limitations of resources, so it is hard to come to terms with the fact that I will never see most of my clients safely housed. Despite the emotional challenges of the internship, I find this work fulfilling and intellectually engaging. It makes me think about how community health can be better managed to prevent clients from ever needing people like patient advocacy interns in the first place. I have plenty of time to discuss issues like these with my coworkers as we take around an hour of lunch together every day. It's been lovely getting to know them as they are all incredibly inspiring and amazing human beings. 

I end work around 5 pm every day. After that, I usually cook, rest, do some chores, and call my partner before bed. On Thursdays, DCSI organizes professional development opportunities for us. For instance, a few weeks ago, we visited Harvard School of Public Health and met with Dr. Alan Geller and Dartmouth alum Lindsey Renner. They gave us an overview of a Master in Public Health and a short tour of the School of Public Health. Afterward, we headed to get a free meal on the DCSI budget as a cohort. It is nice to get a free meal once every two weeks and hear about the internship experiences of my cohort members.

This was a quick summary of a day in my life in Boston. Thanks for reading!

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