Most departments at U-M SPH have an internship or field placement requirement (Epidemiology, Health Management and Policy and Health Behavior and Health Education). I’m doing a split field placement with part of my placement being at the HIV/AIDS Resource Center (HARC) in Ypsilanti, Michigan and the other part at Via Libre, an AIDS organization in Lima, Peru. I’ll be going to Via Libre through the Field Experience in Latin America (FELA) program at SPH.
This post is just about my work at HARC (I’ll write about Via Libre once I get there in July). I’m a member of HARC’s Prevention Team, doing outreach, education, and HIV testing, counseling and referrals. I’ve been affiliated with HARC since September 2004, when I was first a volunteer there through Project Community, a community-based sociology program at U-M. Since that time, I’ve volunteered in the office, on the mobile outreach unit (a UPS-sized van), the HIV testing clinic and at other community locations. For a year and a half, I was a full-time staff member doing fund development and community events. Since August, I’ve officially been the AmeriCorps member and my main job responsibilities are to provide HIV testing, make presentations at community events, help with volunteer coordination, and support the Education & Marketing Committee of the Board of Directors. I also represent HARC on the Spanish Healthcare Outreach Collaborative, a group of providers from local health and community organizations that have services in Spanish.
I’m doing this field placement through a National Direct AmeriCorps Program adminsistered through the National AIDS Fund. There are teams in seven total cities in the U.S.: Detroit, Charlotte (NC), Chicago (IL), Santa Fe/Albuquerque (NM), Washington, D.C., Indianapolis (IN), and Tulsa (OK). It’s a full-time program, so I’m serving at HARC full-time while also attending classes full-time. Yes, it’s difficult, but it’s worth it! To learn more about all the teams, check out our group blog.