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Day in the Life Stories

Rosa Lira

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Working under the umbrella of other communicable diseases, specifically focusing on Coccidiodomycosis (Valley Fever), my day-to-day can include activities like conducting interviews, medical chart abstractions, and requesting medical records from hospitals/clinics if any information is missing. Lately, I have also been helping the Arizona Healthcare Associated Infections Advisory Committee with several smaller projects such as organizing a flash mob at a hospital for International Infection Prevention Week. We also have epidemiology meetings three times a week and an outbreak update meeting every week.

One of my goals for this program is to get a broad experience in this state department. There are so many aspects to public health and this program allows me to get a taste of each. I want to work on policies as much as I want to do fieldwork and luckily the department I was placed in enables me to participate in it all. My host site has even gone so far as creating a simulated grant in which I would have to come up with a budget and staffing plan in order to seek funding from a fictional source for one of my major projects. This way, I would also gain experience in funding, budgets and grant applications.

The most interesting aspect of my work has been the fieldwork. I recently traveled to Yuma, Arizona with an EIS Officer and an epidemiologist from my department in order to conduct a study on Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS). Earlier this year there was a GBS outbreak that affected individuals in Yuma County and San Luis, Mexico. We collected blood and sputum samples for each case and control and asked them some general questions on how the disease affected their daily activities and emotional health. My ability to speak Spanish fluently was useful when communicating with the cases/controls and I, at times, was even a translator between the doctor and the community. It was a fantastic experience!

Working for the CDC has also been an incredible experience. The structure, respect, resources (like the CDC library, fellow colleagues, and experts in different fields), career opportunities, and other amazing benefits will provide me with the necessary skills and enable me to be part of a broad network of individuals that can be translated and helpful in any position.

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