Health & Medicine Welcomes Spring 2023 Equity Interns - Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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Health & Medicine Welcomes Spring 2023 Equity Interns

January 15, 2023

This fall, Health & Medicine welcomes our seventh cohort of interns in our Equity Intern Program: Marissa Jones, Norma Narsa, and Denesha Pruitt.

Marissa Jones graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and minor in childhood studies from Case Western Reserve University in 2019. After receiving her degree, she worked at Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation to promote health through housing repairs. That experience sparked her interest in public policy and encouraged her to pursue a master’s degree in public policy. She is currently enrolled in the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, where she is in the second and final year of her graduate studies and has the opportunity to learn about the health care system in the United States. As a natural progression of her interests and career development in health equity, this internship will help to expand her knowledge of social determinants of health and how these determinants are integral in understanding racial inequalities and injustice throughout our communities. Marissa is the 2023 HiteHass Equity Intern.

Norma Narsa will work closely with the Schweitzer Fellowship Program Director and Program Coordinator. A first-generation Assyrian-American graduate student who began her professional career as a health administrator, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Health and Wellness and is currently pursuing her Master of Public Health from Northeastern Illinois University. Her passion for public health, health care advocacy, and social justice have led her to work closely with organizations that aim to reduce violence against women. Norma was born and raised in Rogers Park and has always had a passion for working to better her community. She sees her career positively impacting the lives of individuals and groups in many communities, including creating better systems for quality patient care and advocating for patients across the Chicagoland area. Outside of work and school, you can find Norma trying new neighborhood restaurants with her friends, going to music concerts, jumping rope, reading, or spending time with her 2-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Denesha Pruitt joined Health & Medicine to support the Development & Communications team. She began her professional career as a Public Heath Technician in the United States Air Force and worked to become the Community Health Clinic Manager were she supported the health needs of military members and veterans. She is currently pursuing a Master in Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago with a focus in Health Policy and Administration.

In 2018, Health & Medicine created an Internship Equity Committee charged with developing a new model for internships, called the Equity Intern Program, in which unpaid intern labor is replaced with a paid internship model, and for which we established a “one door” application process so that opportunities are not limited to the well-connected. Providing paid internships is an important step toward creating and sustaining a diverse, equitable, accessible, and inclusive workforce.

A successful internship can be an integral part of a person’s education and professional development. Our internship program supports the next generation of professionals who share the belief in our mission of health equity and social justice. Our interns are largely graduate students in the Chicagoland area interested in gaining experience in public health. Health & Medicine supports three cohorts of three interns per year, for a total of nine interns.