6/23: Overview of my first few weeks at Fit NOLA

first day

My supervisor took this picture of me on my first day of workcity hall

This is City Hall, where I go for my internship with Fit NOLA!

This summer, I am interning with Fit NOLA at City Hall, which is a physical fitness and healthy eating program that is part of the New Orleans Health Department. Fit NOLA strives to be the portal that links all healthy eating/exercise activities in New Orleans, and in order to do this, the program creates relationships with its “partners” – other physical fitness/wellness initiatives around the city. Much of Fit NOLA’s work relies heavily on the communications with these partners, so it is divided into six sectors, which are groups of people from Fit NOLA’s partners that come together quarterly in order to draft ideas for how Fit NOLA can tackle health and wellness issues in the city. I started interning in early June, and so far it has been very interesting. I am the intern in charge of the Early Childhood Sector and Community Sector. That means that I am working to identify what kinds of services already exist for early childhood health and wellness and what services the city lacks. It also means that I am in charge of creating the newsletter, which is sent out twice each month. Even though the health department (which just got accredited…woohoo!!) is pretty large, Fit NOLA actually only has about 5 staff members. Therefore, I get to do a lot of hands-on work that doesn’t just apply to my sectors because they are short-handed at times. My supervisors are very patient and enthusiastic people, and they have let me tag along to many important meetings, as well as the Spring forum.

My learning objectives were:

1) I will acquire specific knowledge about public health organizations and how they function in New Orleans, including governmental organizations (like the health department) and non-profit organizations.

2) I will acquire the professional skills, including etiquette and interpersonal skills, needed to work effectively in a professional, governmental work environment.

3) I will learn more information about how to establish public health campaigns among certain populations.

4) I will cultivate good relationships with the public health department’s partners, so as to create connections and learning opportunities to have available after I graduate.

So far, I have gotten the chance to connect with many of Fit NOLA’s partners at their spring forum. I have attended about 20 meetings, worked on multiple different databases, helped create a program that we are using to apply for a grant, and worked on updated our social media and calendars. The employees here listen to, use, and give me feedback on all of my ideas, which has been very rewarding. As these activities continue, I think I will definitely be able to accomplish all of my learning objectives by the end of the summer. I’ll be posting again soon, as my various projects continue to grow!

– Anna

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