Assisting Ireland’s Nationwide Health Initiative

A study abroad experience in Ireland led to an internship with the Disability Federation of Ireland.

Starting college is a daunting task, especially if you are unsure of what career you wish to pursue. Emma Hartman was in this position, only knowing that she wanted her career to involve helping others. Emma joined the Academic and Career Exploration Living Learning Community as she was not ready to declare her major yet. Through this program, Hartman was able to examine her career options thoroughly, and figure out what her best fit was on campus. It didn’t take her long to find the answer.

“By the end of my first semester, I had declared Public Health as my major and enrolled in two courses, including the intro class,” Hartman said. “Both courses opened my mind to the wide variety of health topics involved in the realm of Public Health.”

Hartman instantly knew she made the correct choice, fixated on the idea of being able to help others, especially those who need it the most. Now in her third year, she would prefer to work for a small scale, non-profit organization that focuses on health issues affecting minority populations. She never expected that her first work experience would give her that chance.

Hartman was accepted into the Ireland study abroad program. Since she was young, she has always dreamed of going to Ireland, but because of financial reasons, she didn’t think it was possible until later in life. Then, she was awarded the Glenn Goldberg Scholarship, allowing her to embark on the opportunity. In order to receive the scholarship, Hartman needed to take a semester long internship credit with an assigned professor overseeing the experience.

“Before my internship I was assigned to Dr. Boyle and we talked regularly during my time in Ireland,” Hartman said. “Her enthusiasm enhanced my internship experience by making me feel like what I was doing there was important to the field of Public Health.”

For the people of Ireland struggling to have their voices heard, Hartman’s internship abroad was of significant importance. While not necessarily the small-scale organization Hartman dreams of working for, she interned with the Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) focusing on the issues of Ireland’s nationwide health initiative, the Healthy Ireland Framework. This decade long project is a new national framework set to improve the health and well-being of Ireland. Hartman’s role on behalf of the DFI was to conduct research and promote suggestions on how to make the framework fully inclusive. Her research included an in depth analysis of the framework, researching a wide array of the DFI’s past publications, and insight from DFI employees. Her finished research paper is set to be published on the DFI’s website in the near future with the hope of spreading awareness of these issues within the framework. Working with the DFI was a humbling experience, allowing Emma to find out more about herself.

“Interning with DFI made me more aware of the issues affecting minority populations and made me more passionate about research,” Hartman said. “Overall, doing an internship in Ireland made me feel more cultured, independent, and passionate about my major!”

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