Kimberly became a Project L/EARN intern at the start of her senior year at Douglass College, where she had been a member of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Public Health 5-year joint B.S. & M.P.H. program. With a concentration in Health Education, her primary professional goal had been to educate disadvantaged communities about various health issues in order to best empower them to facilitate the process towards effective social change.
Among the many lessons she had learned during the course of Project L/EARN, the realization that “Research and practice go hand-in-hand; and that it is an integral part of successful health education…” stands out the most. One of the major highlights of the summer for Kim had been the opportunity to work intensively with faculty, instructional staff and her fellow interns in a manner that had allowed her to fruitfully exchange ideas and learn from the experiences and perspectives of others. Kimberly, having had instructional staff that were former interns who served as role models, “motivated [her] towards more attainable goals.” The following fall, Kimberly served as a Teaching Assistant for Dr. Jane Miller’s undergraduate research methods course in Public Health at the Bloustein School.
The research Kim had conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Usha Sambamoorthi found that despite the fact that African Americans compose over half (4%) of HIV incidence in the country, they are more likely to be tested than Whites or Hispanics. Moreover, the research also found that African Americans are less knowledgeable about HIV treatment. Education and income remain as the structural barriers that hinder testing and knowledge, regardless of race or ethnicity. Following her internship, Kim had planned on continuing this work for her Master’s thesis with an emphasis on general AIDS knowledge and testing.