My year at the Commission as an Intern by Pilar Mendez

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Looking back on a successful year at the Commission gives me such pride to be a part of a leading organization focused on Hispanic health equity. I have been able to mold my internship experience to my interests, and have been involved in everything from HIV testing to writing articles about health disparities in the Deep South. I never would have imagined being able to be involved in projects from all aspects of an intervention. I would use SPSS to enter data and create codebooks on a variety of capacity building programs, a highly marketable skill in Public Health research. I also conducted interviews with a variety of Hispanic leaders in the Deep South for an assessment report on pressing concerns affecting quality of life. It was through these informal discussions that I was able to learn just how different the political and health climates are across varying states. In New York City itself, I contacted local leading policy officials and highly influential community-based health organizations who see and cater to Hispanic communities on a daily basis, in order to create a working document for outreach purposes.

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 Interns and HEARD staff at the United Nations, December, 2014

I continued with the Deep South assessments in my second semester of work, by  researching media outlets, including print and radio organizations, who market to a Hispanic audience in order to disseminate information about National Latino AIDS Awareness Day and HIV/AIDS-related health information. From there, I wrote a number of editorials and opinion articles that focused on health disparities in the Deep South for these outlets. Topics for these articles included obesity rates and chronic illnesses to how the physical built environment affects health outcomes.

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Behind the Scene: My Experience at the Commission

Since the beginning of August, I have been interning at the Latino Commission on AIDS. When I first started working at this organization, I did not know what to expect. It was my first time working in an office setting and I was unsure of how the overall experience would be. I have learned a lot from this experience. For example, I learned how to input data using the statistical analysis software, SPSS. Using this program will help me in the long run because a lot of organizations and companies probably use the program for their data. I also learned that there is a oral test that is quick and simple to find out if a person is HIV positive or not.

In this experience I have worked with many people who have taught me a wide range of skills. The tasks I completed included inputting data, scanning newspaper articles and emailing the articles to myself, organizing files and stamping paperwork. While looking through newspaper articles I learned that a patient known as the Berlin Patient was functionally cured of HIV while receiving a stem cell transplant in 2008. I found this one of the most interesting things I have learned while working for the Commission, because it allows me to have hope that people who are living with AIDS will be cured some time in the future.

Overall my experience at the Commission has been amazing. The workers here are all very friendly and hard-working. They have made my time at the Commission fun and interesting. I am glad I took this internship and was able to do something productive with my summer.

Written by Tiara Vega

Behind the Scene: Summer at the Commission

This summer, I was given an opportunity to take part in something that can really change the world. I was able to spend my summer working with the Latino Commission on AIDS. During this time, I helped organize information for the Latino Religious Leadership Program from previous fiscal years and helped prepare for the next fiscal year to come. I got to work with some amazing people for a goal that seems obtainable: to increase awareness of HIV and AIDS to help reach the point where it will, one day, not be around.

I learned some new skills while working here, such as how to work with programs used for data entry, including how SPSS and Microsoft Excel. I learned how to set up SPSS depending on the data I have and how to use the various features to accurately portray what I want it to. I was surprised by how easy it was to learn these new programs. At first sight they seemed really complicated and difficult to understand, but after a short time of actually using them, I got more comfortable. I now feel confident that I can use these programs efficiently and effectively whenever the time may come. I learned skills to help me work in practically any field since all fields have some form of data within them. With this new knowledge I will be one step ahead of everyone else and have a better understanding as the training gets more advanced.

Everyone who worked at the Commission was amazing. They were all friendly and helped out whenever asked. They made my time working here incredible and all the more enjoyable. I had an incredible time helping out and a truly great experience. I am glad to have been given this opportunity to take part in something like this. It was a great experience.

Written by Ramon Torres

Intern from John Jay College

Where are We Headed? IAC 2014 theme of the day.

As the International AIDS Conference wraps up in Melbourne, Australia we are asked to ponder “Where are we headed?” Our CBA Specialists shine some light on where they believe the HIV field is moving henceforth… Use the comments section below to let us know where YOU think the HIV/AIDS field is going to!

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My First Step in “Stepping up the Pace”

When recently asked what we can do to step up the pace in our efforts to end the AIDS epidemic, I was instantly reminded of a recent email from the Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC). The email was urging us, as constituents, to plead with the senate and foreign operation subcommittee to move the $300 million dollars that are unable to be appropriated to the Global AIDS Fund into the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Continue reading