You’ve (hopefully) noticed that our blog has been a bit more active in the past few months. A large part of that is due to our fabulous intern, Grace, who has been contributing articles on a whole range of topics. I’ve asked her to change things up a bit and introduce herself. So without further ado, here’s Grace!
Hello Wellness Times Readers! It is about time that I introduce myself. My name is Grace Ferguson and I am the Ohio AIDS Coalition’s intern. As a Public Health Major at THE Ohio State University, I wanted to expand my learning beyond the confines of a lecture hall and into the practical world of public health implementation. I came across OAC and the AIDS Resources Center Ohio in a Google search while I was looking for public health organizations in the Columbus Area. The mission that OAC supports, Health Education and Prevention, stood out to me immediately, this was where I wanted to learn how to implement the tools I was hearing about in the classroom.
I started working for OAC in February of 2014 (almost nine months now!). The first project I was placed on was daunting, but I loved every minute of it. I was asked to call all of the HIV/AIDS healthcare providers in the state of Ohio and figure out which Healthcare programs they contract with. It took me months to complete, but introduced me to the hard work, dedication, and perseverance that is the Non-Profit world.
OAC has introduced me to an entire world of health care and HIV/AIDS health management that I had never even heard of before. It wasn’t until I started working for OAC that I heard of PrEP or the fiery debate behind it. Because of my research and work with PrEP at OAC I have continued to research PrEP and share my knowledge about it with fellow public health students. I was recently able to attend a community discussion, hosted by OAC and Columbus Public Health, led by leaders in the HIV field. The discussion featured proponents, opponents, and medical experts in the PrEP field and opened my eyes to some of the pros and cons circulating PrEP. I have also had the opportunity to learn about the ins-and-outs of the insurance field. Working at OAC throughout the Affordable Care Act roll out was a very exciting time. I have been able to learn about the details of the insurance world, from enrollment, to appeals. OAC has taught me things about public health implantation that a classroom could never come close to.
When I am not researching the Medicaid appeals process, or reading clinical trial abstracts on experimental drugs, I enjoy cheering on my buckeyes on the football field. I spend the spring at Huntington Field watching the Clippers and dreaming of days when the Philadelphia Phillies are in the Post-Season again. As a Philadelphia native I miss the East Coast every day, but after spending eight years of my life in the state up north I am happy to be a resident of Ohio. My parents raised me on the coast of the Outer Banks surfing, swimming, and sharking (I like to consider myself a shark enthusiast), and I considered Kitty Hawk, North Carolina my true home. I am also proud to call myself a sister of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority and an active member of OSU student life, participating in Health Science Scholars and the OSU Sportsmanship Club. While I’m on break from school I occupy my time by hanging out (annoying) my 14 year old brother Andrew, and parents, who live in Baltimore, Maryland.
After finishing my degree (hopefully on time) I hope to pursue a Master’s in Public Health and a Law Degree. In the distant future, I hope to work in government promoting healthy behavior and disease prevention, while keeping in mind my Public health background that OAC has rooted in me so strongly.