My experience this summer with the Center for Adolescent Health was fantastic, and it is something that I am very grateful for. While I had the amazing opportunity to work with Drs. Beth Marshall and Terri Powell, as my primary research mentors, everyone within the center was incredibly helpful and supportive and played an important role in making my summer experience great.

For my research project this summer, I got to evaluate the implementation of the pilot study of what will be a large-scale implementation of a teen pregnancy program in all Baltimore Clinics with Title X funding. For the pilot study, our teen pregnancy prevention program of choice, Seventeen Days, was implemented in two Baltimore health clinics. I was given the task of evaluating this pilot study, discovering what worked and did not work, in order to inform the implementation of the larger study, which began July 1, 2016. The Seventeen Days program is very unique in that it is a video based and interactive intervention in which girls have the ability to tailor the intervention to target their individual needs. Because of the uniqueness of what we were doing, my work in terms of evaluating the pilot study was very important in ensuring the success of our overall study. Through my work this summer I had the opportunity to visit health clinics in which our study was being implemented and interact with the health educators that would be carrying out our study. I was also able to attend meetings with the various organizations, such as the Baltimore City Health Department, that worked with our center on this study. I got an invaluable first hand look at public health work in action and the multifaceted nature of implementing effective public health programs.

The final aspect of my work this summer consisted of creating PowerPoint and poster presentations as well as writing a research paper. In completing these tasks my research mentors as well as members of the Center were extremely invested in my success. They helped and supported me every step of the way. Through this work I was able to develop my skills as a writer and a presenter. Overall, I had fantastic experience working with the Center for Adolescent Health. The enthusiasm and passion that each member of this center has for public health and improving communities excited me and made me more driven to pursue a career in public health work.

By: Erika Redding

Erika Redding attends the University of Miami. As a participant in the Diversity Summer Internship (DSIP) Program, she worked with and learned from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Adolescent Health.