NICHQ Intern Spotlight: Lucia (Lucy) Burzynski
by Macy Parakh, NICHQ intern
July 27, 2022
Lucia (Lucy) Burzynski (she/her) is a Marketing and Communications Intern this Summer at NICHQ. Born and raised in Milwaukee, she is currently a Master of Public Health student at Boston University specializing in Community Assessment and Program Design and Maternal and Child Health. Her Summer QI project is centered around spending more time with friends. Outside of her internship and school Lucy enjoys watching basketball, going for walks, and singing.
What brought you to the field of public health?
I’m quite new to public health - my background is in kinesiology and psychology. I love the human body and physical activity promotion, but I think during my undergraduate studies I saw a lack of a systems perspective when it came to initiatives in the field – there was often a focus on individual change and goals. We want everyone to be exercising and moving, but from my own personal experience, I know that requires the removal of systemic barriers. That’s where my shift to public health comes from – wanting a more macro-level view of the systems that create health, that prevent or promote opportunities for achieving health.
What MCH issue are you most passionate about?
Broadly, I’m passionate about health equity and health justice. I think primarily, health justice work that’s rooted in creating systems that work to serve Black and Brown children and families. Thinking about people that have been historically and systemically marginalized and oppressed and creating systems that work for them and are informed by their opinions. That's something that I’m really passionate about – community work.
And then in general, child and family health, specifically for Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) children and families is kind of the area that I’ve fallen into. As well as the impact of cities and how systems, particularly within cities, can shape health – and what improving health through dismantling and reshaping systems within cities looks like.
What projects are you working on this Summer at NICHQ?
Some of the work is writing insights and blogs for our website about some of our project work as well as our health equity work. Right now, I’m working on a piece for the National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep Improvement and Innovation Network (NAPPSS-IIN) project. They’ve done a lot and they’ve had to adapt a lot over the course of their project, so I’m thinking about how that can provide some insight for our constituents. I’m also supporting the New York State Birth Equity Improvement project by creating an impact statement that will highlight all that New York State DOH has been able to accomplish and implement. In terms of internal work, I’m creating an Equity Language Guide to shape and guide communications at NICHQ, setting culturally humble expectations for how we talk and learn about things that we aren’t as familiar with. And then I run the Facebook and LinkedIn pages!
Who are you most excited to learn from at NICHQ?
Probably Jey (Weisgerber, Associate Director of Marketing and Digital Strategy)! They know so much not only about writing and communication but also about equity and NICHQ as an organization. They always know who to talk to or how to navigate an issue. They’ve been really understanding, meeting me where I’m at and providing guidance. We think similarly about of lot of things, so we have really natural conversations on a lot of topics.
What are your career aspirations for after your degree?
I really don’t know what my job will look like, I just know how it should feel. Ultimately it will have to come down to serving communities, serving children and their families, particularly in ways that are informed by community voice, community input, as well as real systems change.
How do you feel your work this Summer at NICHQ is helping move you towards those goals?
I think part of it is just giving me hope – just knowing that there are organizations that are super dedicated to this type of work, that are explicit about their intention to do this type of work, and then to know that within that, there are so many projects going on across the nation that are all rooted in this same mission.
There are people doing the work. Everyone I’ve met at NICHQ shows that there are people thinking about these things, there are people who are willing to ask these questions, there are people constantly pushing to do more and more and more for this work. That has shown me that this is happening. It’s real – it's not just some aspirational thing to want to be a part of the work that’s making an impact.
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.
NICHQ Intern Spotlight: Madeline D’Onfro
Madeline D’Onfro (she/her) is an intern on NICHQ’s HNCC Project this Summer. After growing up in Massachusetts, Madeline spent seven years living in Boise, Idaho and has now returned to the Northeast to pursue her Master in Public Health at Boston University. She is concentrating her studies in Community Assessment and Program Design and Maternal and Child Health. Madeline’s Summer QI project is to increase her average running mileage. In her free time Madeline enjoys hiking, cycling, and any other activity that allows her to be outdoors!
Racially Motivated Violence is a Children’s Health Issue
In the wake of recent mass shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde, and Highland Park, and too many others, we discuss the mental health implications of racially motivated and gun violence on children and their families with Stacy Scott, PhD, MPA, Executive Project Director and Equity Lead at NICHQ, and Becky Russell, MSPH, Senior Director of Applied Research and Evaluation at NICHQ.
NICHQ Intern Spotlight: Lyndsay Brooks
Lyndsay Brooks (she/her) is a 2022 summer intern on NICHQ’s Marketing and Communications Team. Originally from Davidsonville, MD, Lyndsay is now a Master’s of Public Health student at Boston University (BU) studying Health, Policy, and Law and Maternal and Child Health (MCH). Lyndsay brings with her a background in public health, Medicaid policy, and pediatric healthcare. When she is not studying or working, she enjoys baking, knitting, and hiking. This summer, as a part of her Personal Quality Improvement Project, Lyndsay has also been training for a 5K.