Liz Chen, 2010, Anthropology

This summer I worked for the Pan American Health Organization in El Paso, TX. While I was on the US-Mexico Border I worked specifically on projects related to chronic diseases such as childhood obesity and diabetes. I conducted large systematic reviews of obesity legislation in both the US and Mexico and compiled studies that use mass media campaigns to combat the obesity epidemic. In addition to my internship I spent my time outside the office learning from promotoras (community health workers) specifically trained in HIV/AIDS. These promotoras had a lot to say and I learned a lot about health disparities in general along the Border and the importance of culturally-appropriate care. I also had the privilege of working with the Teen Advisory Board of Thomason Hospital on the weekends. These teens opened my eyes to a new  alternative way of disseminating important information relative to public health. They educate their parents and peers and shared with me some of the horrific common misconceptions they hear when discussing topics like HIV/AIDS in their communities. These experiences will serve as the basis for my independent work this upcoming year.