It has been a pleasure to host another talented group of pre-medical students from my alma mater Wabash College this summer. Wabash has developed a wonderful program called the Global Health Initiative which provides students experiential learning opportunities addressing social determinants of health and health care disparities in the context of a liberal arts education. During the series of meetings with Research Triangle health care innovation experts, it has been inspiring to listen to the informed questions from the interns. I would like to thank the G. Michael Dill Fund for making this valuable opportunity possible.
After hosting interns for several years, I have developed 3 practices that I recommend to others.
- Set expectations prior to start: I take bringing on interns as seriously as I would any other hire. Because I had recently moved to Research Triangle, I advised the students that “we would be inventing things as the summer proceeded”. This has worked well given amazing resources in the region, the college town environment, and a little bit of luck. The students have demonstrated tremendous initiative and introduced me to some key folks in the world of global health.
- Read good books together: For the past several years, I have my students read The Best Care Anywhere (by journalist Phillip Longman) as a way to get oriented to healthcare systems. Given the student’s interests, we also added An Illustrated Guide to Personal Health (by Tom Emerick former Walmart executive) and Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think (by the amazing Hans Rosling).
- Document the journey: My interns Artie Equihua and Nate Gray are producing a series of blog posts about their experiences. This seems very natural in our increasingly connected world. My advice to them is to talk about their assumptions before and after conversations, talk about how this is affecting your future plans, and include questions about your experiences. This creates a travelogue of their experience and informs me how to improve the overall experience.