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Institute for Health Care Policy and Aging Research
Jamila McLean
Project L/EARN Intern - 2014
Jamila McLean
Race/Ethnicity, Nativity, and Self-Rated Health: The Role of Perceived Racial Discrimination
Dawne Mouzon, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Assistant Professor
E.J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy

Jamila McLean is a student at Rutgers University (’15) from Ste. Madeleine and Princes Town, Trinidad and Tobago. Jamila is currently studying Public Health, and will be pursuing an MPH in Health Education and Health Administration with the aspiration of becoming the CEO of a large hospital or clinic one day. After getting a taste of research this summer with Project L/EARN, Jamila wants to be much more involved in the field of research going forward and would like to pursue a PhD in Public Health in the future. Jamila decided to apply to Project L/EARN because she wanted to be able to receive some first hand experience in conducting her own research project and begin applying what she has learned in the classroom.

During the summer, Jamila had the opportunity to work with her mentor, Dr. Dawne Mouzon, on a project exploring whether discrimination explains the race, ethnic, and nativity status differences in self-rated health. Jamila more than appreciated her mentor’s encouragement and support this summer. She says: “Being able to throw all of my ideas at her and having her support and enthusiasm in turning each and every idea into a new research topic that we could explore at a later date.”

The best aspect of the program for Jamila was the people – from her cohort to the instructors, to her mentor – she appreciated having that many individuals behind her pushing her towards success and a great project! The hardest part of the program was waking up in the morning and learning to develop a relationship with computers, but as the summer progressed, this became much easier. Jamila says the most important thing she learned this summer was: “Never stop asking questions. For as long as I can remember, I have always been curious. I wanted to know why things were a certain way, how things worked and why things were important. I didn’t just want to experience the world; I wanted to understand it. Project L/EARN taught me to keep asking questions but to also go out there and find the answers.” She advises future interns to appreciate every moment and to engross themselves in the experience regardless of how tiring and frustrating it may get, because Project L/EARN “will certainly leave a huge impact on the rest of your lives.”

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