NICHQ Intern Spotlight: Elyse Anderson
by Lyndsay Brooks, NICHQ Intern
July 27, 2022
Elyse 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!
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.
Look for NICHQ at Upcoming Spring Maternal Child Health Conferences
Teams at the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality are preparing for an exciting spring 2023 conference season, where staff will give poster presentations and facilitate workshops at a variety of national maternal and child health conferences.
Getting Started with Land Acknowledgements
Land acknowledgements, like sharing our gender pronouns, are another part of bringing our fuller selves to our work and fostering an inclusive meeting culture. Land acknowledgements can demonstrate a respect for the original stewards of the land where we reside and gather. They can be an important tool for Natives and non-Natives to facilitate both honoring the past and acknowledging its impact on the present and future. Factors like where you live and if other equity practices (i.e. land acknowledgements and pronoun sharing) are incorporated into the other parts of your life can affect how fluidly you bring them into your professional role. By practicing inclusive meeting culture, humbly and with good intention, we have an opportunity to positively impact our participants and the communities we serve.
Doula Support Improves Maternal and Child Health Outcomes, Patient and Family Engagement
In honor of World Doula Week, celebrated annually March 22-28, The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) held a conversation with LaToshia Rouse, CD/PCD(DONA), owner of Birth Sisters Doula Services. Rouse currently serves as the Patient and Family Engagement Co-Chair of the National Network for Perinatal Quality Collaboratives Executive Committee and joined NICHQ’s Board of Directors in March 2022.
Supporting Indigenous Families for Improved Health Outcomes
Indigenous mothers and birthing people, fathers, partners, caregivers, and families, can speak for themselves. So, make sure seats are available – and filled – on your projects, your teams, your boards. Many projects within the MCH field have steering committees, and all should have family representation. As I hope you’ve intuited, it’s not enough to carry a message. When I think about justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion with regard to our committees, our faculty experts, or even in our improvement advisors, I have begun to ask the question: Are there people from American Indian and Alaska Native communities here?
3 Ways to Close Gaps in Sickle Cell Disease Care: Recommendations from NICHQ Projects
In the past several decades, clinicians, public health professionals, and those with lived experience have seen advancements in Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) treatments and research that have significantly improved outcomes and increased life expectancies for people living with SCD. For example, the FDA-approved medication hydroxyurea (HU) has been recommended as a SCD standard of care due to its ability to help people with SCD mitigate pain and the need for blood transfusions. Preventative measures, such as screening children and adolescents for risk of stroke and ensuring that all people who have SCD receive recommended vaccinations, have also been instrumental in reducing complications associated with SCD. And recently, development of gene therapies has presented possibilities of a new cure. Conversations on how to improve access to care should continue, and these three recommendations begin with some of the most pressing needs.
NICHQ Intern Spotlight: Macy Parakh
Macy Parakh (she/her) is a Marketing Communication Intern Summer 2022 at NICHQ. She is a Master of Public Health (MPH) student at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). Macy is studying Community Assessment, Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation (CAPDIE) and Maternal and Child Health (MCH). She is originally from Toronto, Canada. Macy has a bachelor's degree in Communications from McMaster University. When Macy isn’t studying or working, she can be found baking, dancing, and spending time with her dog.