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Sandee Young

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In my position working in STD control, a typical day begins with finding the previous day's approved labs results, pulling patient charts for the positives, and making sure that CalREDIEs (California's Confidential Morbidity Report) are made for each disease incident. After this, the day can be filled with STD patient interviews, which include disease education and epidemiology investigations for sexual contacts, following up with outside provider's Confidential Morbidity Reports, and most recently, working on revamping our STD control web page and planning a social media campaign for the Kern County AIDS Advisory Board.

If I’m not working on the other projects previously mentioned I sometimes interview up to three people in one day. Initially I was very nervous during the interviews but after shadowing the public health nurses and pulling from my experience as a Health Worker at UC Berkeley, I became more comfortable with each interview. I have also come to realize it’s important to never assume anything about anyone and provide as much education and information as possible. This is especially important with the population I serve, because our clients tend to be the most underserved population falling at or below poverty level.

Therefore, without our services, most would not have access to health care or any sexual health education. Sometimes it is difficult to overcome the language barrier that can exist between some clients that only speak Spanish and me. It is also challenge for health education to prevail in the very conservative environment we live in where comprehensive sexual education is almost non-existent, especially for the younger generation. Nevertheless, I think we have made tremendous strides through the work we do and I’m excited to see this important work continue and grow.

Having this hands-on experience, especially for a new public health worker, has been incredibly important. It not only has provided me with a better understanding of the inner workings of public health, but it has also provided me with the skills necessary to be better qualified to make large scale decisions further down the line that ideally would have tremendous implications for the world of public health.

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