“I’m really looking forward to learning as much as possible,” said Cauchavius Watts, an USF College of Public Health student pursuing a MHA in health administration and a MPH in health policy and programs.
Watts was recently awarded an internship from Robert Wood Johnson University Health (RWJUH) in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
This internship is a nationwide program; approximately 40 students were accepted from the 150 students who applied.
Watts is assigned to the PSE&G Children’s Specialized Hospital, an affiliate to RWJUH Barnabas health system and the nation’s leading provider of inpatient and outpatient care for children from birth to 21 years of age facing special health challenges.
He will be working with the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Christopher Haines. Together they will build in a more effective transitional care pathway to address continuity of care and reductions in readmissions for children suffering from chronic illnesses and complex physical disabilities, like brain and spinal cord injuries, to developmental and behavioral issues, like autism.
“That’s something that I really want to look into. Patient safety can involve anything from hospital acquired infection prevention to the development of best practices in transitional care,” Watts said.
The internship will take place over a ten-week period, June 6 through August 12. Watts will get shadow in different areas within the PSE&G Children’s Specialized Hospital to gain experiential knowledge for various work streams.
During the program, Watts will complete LEAN Six Sigma training along with an introduction to diversity and inclusion, cultural and linguistic competency, and health equity. He will also participate in the development of a transitional care pathway from the inpatient acute care setting to patient-centered medical homes at two locations, Mountainside and Hamilton, N.J.
A presentation of the project and project findings will be produced at a RWJUH Business Resource Group Executive Council meeting and before senior leadership at the PSE&G Children’s Specialized Hospital and will conclude the program.
He hopes that at the end of his internship he will be one of the 10 students selected by the Institute for Diversity Summer Enrichment Program to go to California to present and attend the 24th annual American Hospital Association leadership summit.
Watts originally became interested in public health as an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“I started out as a molecular and cellular biology student. One semester I had a public health class and thought that it was an interesting course,” he said. “Along the way I kind of fell in love with it and decided to fulfill all the requirements for it for three different degrees. It took me five years to complete but that is a testament to my passion for public health.”
Watts is the outgoing secretary of COPH’s Healthcare Management Student Association. He’s also participated in the Epidemiology and Biostatistics Student Association and the Global Health Student Association.
“I like to keep a pulse on different organizations and support their ability to implement programs together because I think it’s worthwhile for us to all work together,” he said. “We’re all in health care and it is vital that we understand one another’s knowledge, skills, and priorities. I feel like that it is important to have an increased level of multidisciplinary integration so that we can collaborate more effectively and efficiently for the general public’s sake.”
In addition to the PSE&G Children’s Specialized Hospital internship, Watts has also received other honors and awards during his time at the USF COPH.
He has twice received scholarships from the Department of Health Policy and Management to attend the American College Healthcare Executive Congress in Chicago. In addition, Watts was chosen as a student representative to lobby in Tallahassee for USF Day at the Capitol with President Genshaft last semester on behalf of the new USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute.
As for his plans for the future, Watts has one more semester left and hopes that he will be able to leverage his summer internship into a fellowship after graduation or a full-time position.
Story by Caitlin Keough, USF College of Public Health