Mark Stoops ’15 – This summer I earned an internship at the Fountain/Warren County Public Health office located in Attica, Indiana. Working here for the summer has provided me with a wide range of experience in public health. At the start of the internship myself and another intern from Purdue University (Dusty) met with various partners of the Public Health office to learn about what they do for the community, what their day-to-day activities are, and how they relate to public health. Melissa Shamp, our supervisor, did a great job of setting up these meetings. Over the summer we met with and talked to the director of CAP (Community Actions Program), sat in on commissioners meetings, Hospital Health Board Meetings, a CPS meeting (neglect and abuse cases). We have assisted Greg with Septic System inspections, restaurant and grocery food inspections, and house inspections for condemned or reported houses. We have also assisted with soil evaluations and the WIC office in Covington. We also participated in meetings with State Health officials. Those meetings usually pertain to vaccine and prevention updates and disaster preparedness.
At the office, the work environment is great. With such a small group of employees it was very easy to get to know everyone here. Lyndall and Laci are two nurses who give immunizations and file animal bite information. Kelly works at the receptionist desk with death and birth certificates, Missy is our main internship go-to person and as director does just about everything. Gregg is the environmental officer for FW County and inspects septic systems, restaurants, and houses. Dr. Sharma is the Health officer in the office. He has this position at the Public Health Office as well as working in the clinic and the hospital. He is also a Wabash graduate. Everyone is very helpful and glad to have us.
In the past month we have focused on giving out Community Health Needs Assessments. These are surveys that ask a bunch of questions about subjects such as health, infrastructure, lifestyle, and insurance. To get these surveys out into the community, we have given them to local businesses and set up a booth at both the Fountain and Warren County Fair. Our goal is to receive 1000 completed surveys. In eight fair days we received over 800 surveys which means we will easily surpass our goal.
Our final project as interns will be to create and deploy our own public health initiatives. My project is intended to teach children about recycling and the environment. My partners in this project are the Parks Program and Green Minds. Working with them I have set up days to talk to kids in the program about recycling, pollution, and the environment. Then they will go on a recycling/ trash pick up walk. The parks program is a free summer program for kids in Fountain and Warren County and thanks to them I can reach up to 80 kids a day with my program. It turns out kids have a lot more fun than you would expect when it comes to picking up trash.
Being an intern at the Public Health Office isn’t all fun and games though. Sometimes we have to upload septic system reports to the state database. This is very tedious work. We don’t have to do those often and overall I have had a great learning experience here. Seeing how all the government and private health systems work behind the scenes has been amazing and eye opening. I highly recommend this internship it to anyone interested in Public Health.