June 2012: TEAM Lab Interns Spotlight
Posted on June 08, 2012
Sharon Favazza, PhD Practicum Student
What a privilege to serve as an intern with TEAM Lab! As a doctoral student, I assisted TEAM Lab's program by collecting and analyzing research data and co-conducting a focus group. TEAM Lab empowered me to work independently, but in a collaborative manner. The highlight of my semester was writing two qualitative research reports. This was fun! Partnering with a professional research team on initiatives that have the potential to affect the health of most Americans was an honor! Do you want an excellent internship in preventative medicine? Look no further than TEAM Lab.
Charlene Nguyen, 3rd year
My inspiration for pursuing a degree in public health, particularly in health communication and health literacy among ethnic minorities comes in part from being a native of the Los Angeles area and from my passion for improving and serving the health needs of the community. As a student intern at TEAM Lab, I was able to see firsthand and intensively take part in the methods and analyses that go into developing actual tobacco educational materials. Initially, I learned that it serves as an agency for other groups to send their educational materials to for development as well as its own material designer. The goal of TEAM Lab is to prepare effective tobacco educational materials, to be released to the public of the whole state of California, that communicate a clear message to a target audience. This is some important stuff here!
Working closely with Christine Ricohermoso, MPH, TEAM Lab's Material Development Coordinator, I learned about the criteria and tools that TEAM Lab implements to evaluate and improve the materials they receive. I conducted literature searches to cite the facts presented in the material, and researched recent tobacco dangers such as thirdhand smoke. Some of the important criteria that the materials are evaluated for are easy literacy of the text, cultural sensitivity and relevance, and successful presentation of colors and illustrations. Not only did I help look over and edit a material, I also got to witness and record how these materials are in practice. One of the methods that I have learned to do and have practiced frequently is the field testing of this semester’s materials, which include fact cards about secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing, environmental effects of cigarettes, and alternative tobacco products. I conducted many intercept interviews around the community, who were random subjects that I chose in areas like Union Station and coffee shops where people are waiting or not occupied with things. Through these interviews, I learned what people’s first impressions were of a piece, how they interpret its message, and I asked for their feedback on the material. I have grown to see the helpfulness and impact field testing has on improving these educational materials, and how the public responds to tobacco educational materials. Although I encountered a few subjects on certain materials that questioned the facts presented and expressed skepticism about the use of these materials in a public setting, most were aware of the dangers of tobacco use and understood the message behind the materials.
The work that I have been doing here under the guidance of the dedicated and creative staff has been such a great learning and practical experience for me about the efforts and procedures that go into effective health communication. As I am on the track of pursuing a career in health, my time here in TEAM Lab has given me a deeper understanding of how the public health sector is essential to improving the health behaviors of diverse and underserved communities.
Sam Sagartz, 1st year
For the last few months I have been working with TEAM Lab as an undergraduate assistant. My responsibilities mainly consist of editing and writing materials and assisting with day-to-day tasks such as building bibliographies, though occasionally I get the opportunity to field test the materials. Although at times the work can be a bit of a grind, I am enjoying my experience working with the Lab very much. I appreciate the opportunity to learn every week and challenge and cultivate certain aspects of myself such as my creativity, writing ability, and, field testing my interpersonal skills. It is exciting getting to constantly work on new materials attempt to tailor them to specific audiences and as a Health Promotion and Disease Prevention major, I know my work with TEAM Lab will help me in my educational and professional career.