US Department of Health and Human Services
I spent my past summer at the Department of Health and Human Services working in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response (ASPR). Established in 2006 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, ASPR continues to lead the nation in preventing, preparing for, and responding to public health emergencies and disasters.
Over the summer I predominantly worked on the ASPR’s scientific preparedness initiative, which is an effort to build the capacity to be able to do science in the window of opportunity that only occurs in the aftermath of a disaster. To this end, I was deeply involved in facilitating a grants review process in response to Hurricane Sandy. Through this process I was able to explore ASPR’s priorities, understand the programmatic obstacles, and help create a process, as this was the first time that ASPR had undergone a scientific review.
While I was not working on the Hurricane Sandy grants process, I was given the opportunity to work on the National Health Security Strategy, as well as give input on a variety of biosecurity issues and sit in on a plethora of meetings. As a result I was able to learn about a range of issues that are at the forefront of our nation’s biosecurity priorities. Working with such different groups across different agencies within the government also gave me a better understanding and appreciation for the work that people do across the Federal government.
My supervisor was a great mentor, and she enabled me to not only explore policymaking as a career, but also DC as a city. I was able to better understand my needs in the context of what I want out of my job. This summer in DC also gave me some wonderful memories and great conversations with people.
Learn about the internship experience from our 2013 interns