Our Summer 2016 Policy Interns!

Alexis Lazarus, George Washington University

I’m a rising junior at the George Washington University (GWU) majoring in Communications with a Public Health minor. With a passion for public health and an interest in media and public relations, I’m excited to see the interplay between public relations and public health and discover how I can use my skills to influence both. 

So far as a policy intern at PR Collaborative, I’ve been able to learn about the BUILD Health Challenge and gain an understanding of the connection between primary care and public health. I love to work with people and learn about their communities to get a sense of the challenges they face. I’m excited to do more research in public health and my work here has already sparked an interest in me to pursue PR and public health in the future!

Fun facts about me: I’m originally from New Jersey and have a passion for cities and travel. Whether it’s New York or DC, I love to explore the culture of the people around me in terms of food and history. At GWU, I am involved in TEDx Foggy Bottom, an independently organized event that brings 20 TED talks to the Foggy Bottom area every year for a day-long conference. It’s my favorite event of the spring semester! 

Victoria Frost, Davidson College

I am a rising junior at Davidson College studying political science and public health. My interest in the intersection of public health and PR began when I helped lead a student-led symposium addressing the growing concerns of the U.S. Food System. After heading up media relations for the symposium, I became interested in how PR shapes public policy conversations. At the same time, I find studying public health so engaging because it is increasingly interdisciplinary. For example, in order to understand nutrition, we must take into consideration the politics behind food provision, the environmental sustainability of urbanization, and the science behind agricultural practices.

After attending Bringing Public Health and Primary Care Together: The Practical Playbook National Meeting, I was inspired to learn more about the collaboration between primary care and public health. Last summer, I interned at a hospital where I instructed patients with congestive heart failure how to change their lifestyles and diets. The volunteering program I was a part of existed, in large part, because the hospital hoped to reduce the number of fines it received due to early re-admittances. After many phone conversations with discharged patients, I learned quickly that there were obstacles to complying with the doctor’s orders. The issue I found most concerning also had the simplest solution—patients couldn’t comply with doctor’s orders if they didn’t understand the doctor’s medical jargon. Health literacy seemed like a simple solution. The next year, I took a newfound passion for health education to Davidson and taught a cooking class for 4th and 5th graders to encourage healthy eating. I wanted to encourage lessons about nutrition at an early age. From both of these experiences, I learned the importance of spreading awareness of public health issues.

I’m looking forward to working more on the BUILD Health Challenge because I am very interested in how a community collaboration can make a lasting impact on the social determinants of health in a city. I have so much to learn from the team here at PR Collaborative and I’m grateful for the opportunity to research about public health and PR.