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HPW Internship: Olmsted County Public Health Services

Posted by Deising, Deanna - June 23, 2016 - 2016 Internships, Community, HPW Internships, Out-of-State

HPW Student Internship Perspective – Melissa Mady
Interning at Olmsted County Public Health Services has given me the opportunity to experience everything that the public health department does. From taking what I learned in Epidemiology and getting to experience a pertussis (whopping cough) outbreak in the Rochester area which included calling cases and writing case reports about symptoms and recent activities, I was able to see the connections of where the outbreak started and how it spread. I also had the opportunity to work with the environmental health division and shadow food inspections at the county fair as well as work with the employee wellness team with their biometric screenings. Besides those opportunities, my main focus was working in the healthy communities division where I created lessons plans and presented to a variety of populations including summer childcare and adults learning English as a second language (ESL). Topics I presented on included sun safety, hygiene, hand washing and Minnesota weather emergencies. I also conducted an assessment using Olmsted County’s smoke free housing data which included calling property managers to determine smoking policies and encouraging them to adopt a smoke free policy in their building. I have learned so much this summer and have been fortunate to get such a variety of experiences that have opened my eyes to the many different possibilities and areas I can go into with a health promotion major. In the picture above, I am next to two displays I created for Hawthorne
Adult Education Center on mosquitoes and ticks. I had the opportunity to not only create these displays but present to ESL students about Minnesota weather emergencies and how to prepare for them. I taught English levels ranging from pre-literature  to level 6. Working with this population was very challenging and took a lot of patience and time but their willingness to learn made this experience so rewarding. Every presentation was completely different and I wouldn’t know what to expect till I started talking to the class. In a presentation to a pre-literature and level 1 class, I first asked them what an emergency was and no one knew what that meant so thinking on my toes, I had to adapt to their level and adjust my presentation. Talking slow, using simple words and showing lots of pictures were a necessity to these presentations but I had never worked with this population and I know I will use this experience in my future.


  1. Strength Planning, Implementation and Evaluation of Health Promotion Events and Programs:
    1. Prepare and provide at least 2 presentations to two different audiences (SACC, BGC, Y, conquerors, school, MIB, Silver Creek, ABC, etc.)
    2. Organize all aspects of the Walk/Bike Day Event with the Rochester Honkers Baseball Team (summer only)
    3. Assist with community events (Bike rodeo’s, Pata de Pero, Farmers Markets, Fit Kids program at Family Y, etc.)
  2. Improve Communication Skills:
    1. Develop a communication plan for one topic area as defined by the annual action plan.
    2. Develop and organize monthly displays for OCPHS lobby.
    3. Prepare at least two articles to be used with website, social media and/or newsletters.
  3. Gain Experience in Grants:
    1. Research funding streams that will support our strategic plan and strategy implementation and present information to team by completing a SBAR.
  4. Increase Understanding in Data Collection and Analysis and How to Use Information in Decision Making:
    1. Collect information and data on at least one topic or sub-topic (point in time and trend) to help inform the team and for use with grant applications
    2. Assist with Smoke-Free Housing and Lodging Assessment
  5. Improve Understanding of Local Public Health and Interactions with Partners:
    1. Participate and engage in community collaborations, work groups.
    2. Participate in Health Promotion Team meetings and specific grant meetings as appropriate.
    3. Attend at least one Public Health Services Advisory Board meeting.
    4. Attend at least one Olmsted County Board of Commissioners meeting
    5. Complete OCPHS orientation – on-line trainings, division overviews.

On-Site Supervisor
Kari Etrheim
Health Education Manager
Olmsted County Public Health Services
2100 Campus Drive SE, Suite 100
Rochester, MN 55904

40 hours a week for 10 weeks, 2 holidays; make up hours on weekends


UW-Stevens Point Students Who Completed Internship

  • Melissa Mady, Summer 2016 (pictured above)

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