Mitchell Blount (MPH '16)
Virginia Department of Health - Crater Health District Practicum
My practicum was completed at the Virginia Department of Health; Crater Health District and in conjunction with Richmond Central Office. I was a Communicable Disease Epidemiologist Intern responsible for:
- Analyzing, reporting, and updating HIV, STI, and tick-borne disease case data
- Generating HIV and STI Trends Reports based on Crater Health District’s population health statistics
- Completing ArcGIS Spatial Analyses trainings
My projects were assigned to me by my Practicum Supervisor, Louise Lockett, MPH, based upon my interests in HIV/AIDS, STIs, and tick-borne diseases
Although I gained a wealth of knowledge, hands-on experience, and a great deal of new skills, the most rewarding part had to be knowing that my work would and could be used to help others make better decisions about their health.
- ArcGIS Spatial analysis
- Disease case follow-up and classification
- Case management
My practicum experience allowed me to use the skills and knowledge I had already obtained and enhanced those with practical experiences and a new skill set. These skills and experiences will help in my future career goals as an HIV/AIDS Preventionist.
Follow your passion! Understandably, that you may not always get placed in your “perfect” site, but make it clear to your potential preceptor what you’re passionate about. Learn all you can from all that you can. Talk to others at your site about what they do. Many will be more than willing to help you with your project. Most of all, “enjoy the journey!”