I loved the ability to collaborate with staff and admin to create a quality improvement project for the health center. Despite our low level of experience, they were willing to heed our recommendations as medical students to expand their health services to include HIV questionnaires and the possibility of a health fair for patient education on prevention.
What I wish was different
I wish me and my partner came in with more time to brainstorm the QI project as it seemed a bit rushed in order to meet program guidelines. As minority medical students, we were sponsored by the National Medical Fellowships program and Gilead Sciences to provide culturally competent and community-focused recommendations to a community health center in Houston, Texas. This experience was definitely an eye-opener, as it had me realize the inner-workings of a healthcare system that served an underrepresented and often under-served population in the Houston area.
As one piece of advice, I would recommend anyone who would like to participate in this program to apply early on the NMFonline.org website and come with ideas for community research/quality improvement projects. The staff/admin at your intership site will be pleased by your concern and preparation.