Read about Ying Huang’s summer internship experience at the WHO Kobe Center…
By Ying Huang, MPH, Mailman School of Public Health, Epidemiology
Since I learned that a practicum was required for graduation, my first choice was the World Health Organization (WHO) Kobe Centre because it fit my interest and career goals better. The WHO Kobe Centre (WKC) conducts research on health in development with a focus on how social, economic, environmental and technological determinants impact on health equity, particularly in urban settings, in order to build evidence for policy-makers to achieve urban health equity. It was a great honor to contribute to the world’s largest and most influential NGO in the field of public health. Thanks to Weatherhead East Asia Institute M.A. Training Grant support I was able to have fantastic, life-changing internship experience.
My duties during the internship consisted of analyzing the available data set on inequalities in Tuberculosis across 13 cities in Japan, drafting sections of a technical paper describing the situation and trends, and conducting a literature review of TB policies in Japan including specific interventions undertaken by various cities. My final contributions included the Methods and the Results sections of the paper to be published and a summary of TB control policies at both the national and the prefectural level. As expected, I was given a big data set which made it an excellent opportunity for me to practice quantitative analysis using SAS. It was amazing when I succeeded in applying the skills I learned in classes to a real-life project. Furthermore, I found I enjoyed dealing with data so much that I am considering switching my study focus to data analysis. From the literature review, I learned much about the health system in Japan and their TB control policies. I had never been so close to the health inequality problem in big cities, and this experience strengthened my desire to work for underserved populations in urban areas. TB is an even bigger problem in China, especially among the low-income groups in the cities. I believe what I learned in Japan can be applied to my work in public health in China after graduation.
Although Japan is quite near to China, I had never visited Japan before. Japan is an attractive country for me since it has had a close connection with China in every aspect of society for thousands of years. Since I didn’t have holidays on weekdays, I only traveled to several cities nearby on weekends like Himeji, Osaka, and Kyoto, mainly to visit the historic sites. Through the life in Japan, I have become more familiar with Japanese history and culture. I also made a lot of Japanese friends as well as friends from many other countries at the WKC who shared the house I lived in, which made my internship more meaningful.