NICHQ Intern Spotlight: Elyse Anderson 

by Lyndsay Brooks, NICHQ Intern  

July 27, 2022

Elyse AndersonElyse Anderson (she/her) is a Healthy Start Intern Summer 2022 at NICHQ. She is a Master of Public Health student at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). Elyse is studying Community Assessment, Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation (CAPDIE) and Maternal and Child Health (MCH).  She is from a town outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Elyse has a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders. After her undergraduate studies, Elyse worked at a children’s hospital in pediatric audiology. Elyse is the middle child of five. Her older brother has Autism, which has inspired her interest in pediatric public health work. Elyse’s summer QI project is on developing healthy morning habits to increase her productivity throughout the day. Read more for an interview with Elyse! 

All NICHQ interns get the opportunity to participate in a weekly Quality Improvement (QI) course. Throughout the duration of their internship, interns develop a personal aim and apply QI methodology to their Personal Quality Improvement Project. 

What brought you to the field of public health? 

I came to public health after working in healthcare and seeing the things that patients and providers both had to go through to provide good care and access to good care. I wanted to do something related to that field, not necessarily be a healthcare provider, but help to make the process of accessing healthcare better for everyone involved. 

What MCH issue are you most passionate about? 

Healthcare access and quality for pediatric populations, especially populations with special healthcare needs or disabilities.  

What drove you to intern at NICHQ? 

I looked into the organization after seeing the listing for an intern position, and I thought it was a really cool organization with a mission I was really interested in. The populations that NICHQ serves are also populations I’m interested in working with, so it seemed like a really good fit. 

What projects are you working on this summer at NICHQ? 

I’m working on the Supporting Healthy Start Performance Project, helping the Healthy Start Technical Assistance and Support Center (TASC) support each of the Healthy Start grantees. I’ve helped to develop a satisfaction survey for our grantees who became certified lactation consultants, to get feedback on the training and how their centers have benefited from it. I’ve also helped with creating artifacts from our past webinar offerings, to have useful information available for the grantees to access when they want to. I’m also supporting my team members with their projects, like helping to prepare for virtual grantee meetings. 

For those of us who don’t know, what is Healthy Start? 

Healthy Start is a federal program that assists community-level organizations in their work to eliminate disparities in infant mortality rates, focusing especially in Black/African American communities and Tribal Nations across the US. The Supporting Healthy Start Performance Project at NICHQ runs the Technical Assistance and Support Center, where grantees can find just that – technical assistance in the planning and execution of their program, as well as supportive resources. 

What’s something that you’re excited to learn more about this summer at NICHQ? 

I’ve been interested in learning about the back-end processes of providing services to grantees or participants. I think I have more experience working directly with patients or people benefiting from services, so I haven’t always seen the unseen administrative or technical work that goes into providing services. 

Who are you most excited to learn from at NICHQ? 

Kenn Harris is the Executive Project Director and Engagement Lead with Healthy Start, and I’ve been lucky to interact with him a few times in the meetings I’ve had with him or from the webinars that he’s been involved in. I really admire the passion and personal conviction he brings to his work; you can tell that he truly believes in the mission of his team, NICHQ, and Healthy Start, and that he understands how important the work is. He’s been a great example of dedicated and supportive leadership, and I hope to be able to bring that passion to my work throughout my career. 

What are your career aspirations for after your degree? 

That’s such a hard question, since I don’t feel like I even know what’s out there yet. But I’m interested in pediatric healthcare, especially improving healthcare equity for kids who may have complex medical problems and breaking the barriers their families face in accessing quality care.