Israel Jurado, a student at University of California-Berkeley studying nutritional science, interned at the Center for Adolescent Health (CAH) over the summer under the direction of Dr. Terri Powell. As a California native, Jurado had to get used to the hot, humid weather typical to Baltimore summers as he dove into assessing the implementation quality of the Center's core research project. In November, Dr. Powell and colleagues will present a paper on based Jurado’s findings at the American Public Health Association 2018 Annual Meeting. Thank you for your hard work, Israel!

Israel Jurado

Reflections on a Summer in Baltimore

By Israel Jurado

This summer I was given the opportunity to participate in summer research relating to public health thanks to the Diversity Summer Internship Program and Health Careers Opportunities Program. I interned for the Center for Adolescent Health at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. I was provided with mentorship by Dr. Terri Powell who allowed me to work with her on her research study and learn more about the field of public health and research.

The project I took on related to the field of implementation science and my job was to assess factors relating to implementation quality of the LifeSkills Training intervention in Baltimore City public middle schools. LifeSkills Training (LST) is a skills-based cognitive behavioral prevention intervention for students in grades 6-8.  This project was developed to address the growing need for behavioral health interventions that tackle multiple health risk factors among Baltimore youth. After reviewing the numerous problem behaviors of Baltimore’s adolescents and the research on LST, Baltimore City Public Schools (City Schools), the local health department, and behavioral health organizations decided to expand the delivery of LST in City Schools but also add modules explicitly focusing on sexual risks.

I assisted Dr. Powell by collecting fidelity logs completed by teachers, observation logs completed by CAH research staff, and reviewing principal interviews conducted before the intervention. Using SPSS statistical software to interpret the quantitative data and examining the principal interview transcripts, I was able to put together the information and present the findings to Dr. Powell and her team at the Center for Adolescent Health. With the guidance from Dr. Powell, I completed a research paper with our results, completed a research poster to present at Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Cultivating Future Scientists and Health Providers Symposium, and gave a presentation about the findings to the DSIP cohort and director at the Bloomberg School.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone again, in my cohort and mentors for this opportunity in expanding my experience in public health research. Coming in with a background in nutritional science, I took on the challenge being open to learning a different field of science I had no prior knowledge of and how I may relate to it in the future in my field of study. After finishing this summer research project, I now have an interest in learning more about the field of implementation science and applying it to nutrition public health interventions. I am thankful for Dr. Powell's guidance, kindness, insight on graduate school, and patience throughout this summer as all of this was a new experience for me. The staff at the Center for Adolescent Health were welcoming and supportive throughout my time there, and I will not forget this experience. I would recommend any future summer undergraduate intern to work with this team of amazing researchers.