MCH Train-A-Bull scholar Jennifer Ming Yin Su’s internship is a virtual voyage across countries

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Jennifer Ming Yin Su, a USF College of Public Health Maternal Child Health Pipeline Training Program (MCH PTP) scholar, recently participated in a virtual internship with the Tennessee Department of Health, all while working from her home in Hong Kong. 

She said the internship, hosted by the National MCH Workforce Development Center, allowed her, “to identify barriers and challenges a population encounters that prevents them to access certain resources, thereby contributing a large effect to the health of the population in the long-run.”

MCH Train-A-Bull scholar Jennifer Ming Yin Su. (Photo courtesy of Ming Yin Su)

The focus on her virtual internship was to conduct a qualitative evaluation of the state-funded tobacco cessation program for pregnant women, Baby and Me Tobacco Free (BMTF), which included drafting key informant interviews, participant focus group questions, and post-program survey questions.

“I also developed a cost-saving estimate for the BMTF program by referencing other estimates from other states,” she said. “It is very important not only to address the individual health issues that pregnant women are facing, but, most importantly, to integrate these indicators to the population level of pregnant women.”

The virtual nature of the internship allowed Ming Yin Su to work remotely from her home in Hong Kong, but that didn’t come with some challenges.  

“Given the time zone difference and the internship being conducted virtually, it was a challenge for me to delegate the work between my team and submit the tasks on time to my preceptor,” she said. “However, this unique experience has definitely enhanced my skills in effective communication when allocating the tasks among interns and discussing the details of the work at designated times. It certainly paves a path for me to experience what it is like to be a global public health care professional.”

Ming Yin Su, who completed the MCH PTP Scholars program in November, is also a senior majoring in biomedical sciences and is set to graduate in fall of 2021. She said she hopes to specialize as an OB/GYN medical doctor.  

The MCH PTP program, also known as MCH Train-A-Bull, is a HRSA-funded program housed in the COPH’s Chiles Center that recruits, mentors, trains, guides and supports undergraduate students who seek graduate training in a variety of health-related fields.

Each year, 12 undergraduate students across USF are selected into this competitive program to complete a specially designed two-year curriculum. The goal of this program is to contribute to a trained, diverse workforce who is competent and passionate in improving health and reducing health disparities, ultimately combating the pervasive MCH challenges encountered in Florida and the U.S. 

Ming Yin Su said she enjoyed being an MCH PTP Scholar, especially for the research opportunities.

“This program has opened multiple doors of opportunities to me that I would not be able to have if I weren’t an MCH PTP Scholar,” she said. “During the first year of the program, our program coordinator provided monthly updates on the different research opportunities posted on Canvas. These research opportunities have spanned within a broad spectrum ranging from different fields and nature of the research.”

She even credits the program for connecting her to her first internship opportunity at Moffitt Cancer Center in tobacco research and intervention.

“I have also had the golden opportunity to conduct research on a topic that I am interested in with my mentor that was paired by the program. We had the chance to design a poster study and did a virtual poster presentation on my research question,” she said. “Not to mention that the Title V Internship program was also one of the opportunities that was promoted by the MCH PTP Scholars program. I couldn’t have thought of another program that would have given so much support to the student’s interests and provided so much guidance along the way as an emerging health care professional. This has enriched my exposure to different fields of research and has provided me invaluable insights on my future career aspiration.”

To learn more about the MCH PTP Scholars program, visit the program website.

Story by Anna Mayor, USF College of Public Health