Meet the 2021 interns: Hannah Rubens

Author: Hannah Rubens

Hello! My name is Hannah Rubens, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to support CAMI Health as a Public Health Intern this summer. I have recently completed my Bachelor’s degree in Public Health Science, and, over the course of my experience at Santa Clara University, have grown most excited about the potential of the public health field to mitigate health inequities through a systems-level approach. 

Throughout college, I pounced on opportunities that offered experiential learning. This past academic year, I signed up to support a group of computer engineers in developing an e-learning platform to bring health education to youth in Cameroonian refugee camps. The plan was to work closely with students and teachers in Cameroon, as well as a non-profit, to design meaningful and sustainable learning tools that addressed urgent health education needs. In all honesty, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and was completely blindsided by the profound impact this project would have on my personal career goals. As the year progressed, this project offered countless opportunities for creative problem solving, the development of meaningful team and community relationships (which was especially refreshing amidst the pandemic), and a sneak peak into the interdisciplinary applications of public health. In terms of health education, access to resources, and stigma surrounding important health conversations, our research brought to the limelight the disparate reality in developing countries. As this project came to a close and I graduated from university, I knew I wanted to seek out career opportunities that emulated this space.

Most recently, I have supported Santa Clara County in their COVID-19 response efforts by providing resources to families most impacted by the pandemic. This direct service experience has been foundational in informing my understanding of many public health issues and intervention strategies, as well as grounding my public health education in the community. Through this work, I also came to understand that I am most moved to work in a space with more upstream objectives.

I have been interested in the Public Health Institute for a while now; inspired by the breadth of projects they support, as well as the depth of the impact these projects have on the larger community. It goes without saying that in discovering an internship opportunity with CAMI Health – the Secretariat for the Initiative for MPTs (IMPT) – I was very excited. 

Historically, funding for clinical research surrounding women’s health has been drastically disproportionate to its need, especially as this relates to sexual and reproductive health on an international scale. Through a public health lens, it becomes clear that these gaps have contributed to a lack of meaningful investment in the health and well-being of women, particularly women of color and of socially-vulnerable communities

Demonstrating great success in facilitating multidisciplinary collaboration and learning at the nexus of reproductive health and gender health equity, CAMI Health stood as a unique and innovative program that I greatly respected, and an issue I hoped to make a meaningful contribution to. I was further motivated to apply to work with CAMI Health because I valued their commitment to amplifying the perspectives and needs of the end-user as they support MPT advancements. As I learned from the students in Cameroon, a solution is entirely unproductive unless it is deeply informed by the community.

This summer, I am looking forward to supporting CAMI Health in composing a newsletter to be disseminated among researchers and advocates in the field, which will highlight important advancements and opportunities within the realm of MPTs. To further CAMI Health’s engagement with partners and stakeholders, I will be assisting in furthering the development and organization of the new-and-improved website for all-things MPTs, helping out with landscape assessments, and writing blog posts on emerging topics that intersect the MPT and women’s health fields.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with this team, and offer a meaningful contribution to CAMI Health’s efforts to foster collective global action surrounding reproductive and sexual health.