Three days a week, I work in center city at my summer internship with Get Covered America, a healthcare nonprofit organization. At GCA, I’m one member of a team of Fellows who have the opportunity to engage with the local communities of Philadelphia to connect them with resources and ultimately, have them enroll in health insurance plans made possible through the Affordable Care Act.

Alongside the grander and more meaningful aspects about this fellowship, I would like to say that I heavily enjoy its simplicities: riding the train on a daily basis, being located in the bustle of center city Philadelphia, working with a team of other college students, and just having the general air of adultness going to work in the office.

We celebrated the King v Burwell SCOTUS decision with giant cupcakes.

More importantly, I get hands-on experience with working for a nonprofit, and working in the public health field, all while meeting so many people – from the eccentric and motivated GCA Pennsylvania team, to the dedicated volunteers from all over the city, to the uninsured of Philadelphia.

Heather, another Fellow, and I tabling at a service summit in Southwest Philadelphia!

All the while, however, I have been unable to escape Hopkins, despite being away from Baltimore this summer. Hopkins infiltrates your life – in more of a mutualistic than parasitic fashion. Almost every aspect of my internship is related somehow to my experience at Hopkins, and it’s not just the frighteningly similar amount of coffee I drink both in Baltimore and in Philadelphia.

I am doing public health work.

Most obviously, my internship is centered around public health. I am legitimately using what I learned in class in real life, and learning more – especially about Medicaid and the actual process of enrollment. Because I took Fundamentals of Health Policy and Management last semester, I am equipped with knowledge of the ins and outs of the Affordable Care Act and use it every day at Get Covered America. I even have an answer to the question, “What’s your favorite part about the Affordable Care Act?”

No denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions. And yes, this question has already been asked in the office.

I am crunching numbers.

A lot of people I have talked to about my two majors don’t usually see the interaction between applied mathematics and statistics, and public health immediately. This internship is just one of the many ways they do. We’re looking at census data to measure Marketplace and Medicaid eligibility and enrollment. We’re analyzing which regions in Philadelphia need the most help and in what ways. We’re using numbers from our own organization’s national database to choose which strategies are best for consumer outreach.

I am reminded the importance of the humanities.

Our team isn’t just all public health buffs and data nerds. We need the humanities, a sort of hidden gem at Hopkins, to make our campaign successful.

We need effective communication through writing to convey our efforts to the public. Our communications department is vital in spreading the word of our work in order to reach more people that we can help, and people that can help us.

And we need foreign language to overcome the language barriers between our team and consumers that cannot speak English but still need our help getting enrolled. Philadelphia is a city of many ethnicities, and we need people that can speak different languages from Spanish, to Somali, to Vietnamese.

And I am planning events.

I see the Hopkins Organization for Programming at Get Covered America. Planning our enrollment events is just like planning our on-campus events: utilizing marketing, finding partners, and reserving the perfect location to target the right audience. We might not give out free food and t-shirts here, but we do give out free health insurance enrollment assistance, which I guess is just as good.

#GetCovered