One of our new 2016 residents, Jasmine Zapata, MD, tells a bit about her experience in the UW-Madison Preventive Medicine Residency program below.
My first month of the preventive medicine rotation has been amazing. I am taking four summer MPH classes: Environmental Health, Field work planning seminar, Writing for Scholarly Papers, and a Communicating Public Health Information. I’ve learned so much over the last month!
By far, my most exciting course was the 1 week Communicating Public Health Information Course! I enjoyed all of my other courses, but the communicating public health information course was one that really stretched me out of my comfort zone and involved a variety of experiences that were extremely valuable!
We spent time working with journalists and media contacts to prepare and present press releases. We also did mock radio interviews and mock tv news interviews. “Live at 5” was a recorded segment we participated in with a real video camera and discussed an important public health topic. It was awesome. We actually watched the video in class to provide each other with feedback. It is always hard looking back at yourself on camera but it was such a great experience! We also learned to write letters to the editor and submitted them to actual newspapers around the area. It was so fun!
We ended the week learning how to prepare a testimony in favor or against a particular public health related bill. We spent time researching the topic and examining arguments for both sides. We learned how to write a written testimony and then had the opportunity on the final day of class to participate in a mock public hearing at the Capitol building. We signed in, submitted our written information and then testified to a panel of legislative staffers.
It was my first time testifying so I was pretty nervous, but in the end it turned out to be an AMAZING experience! It was great practicing answering follow-up questions and dealing with the legislators. The political environment is very different from the clinical environment I am used to working in. It was awesome to learn the tips and tricks on how to be most effective with your testimony.
At the end of the morning, the legislative staff gave each student individualized feedback on our testimony. We got inside tips on how to be most effective and how to best communicate our ideas. We also learned a lot about the process of actually turning an idea into a law and ways we can advocate for our public health priorities and passions along the way. It was great!
Overall, I truly enjoyed the class and can’t wait to continue putting the things I learned into practice. Utilizing the media and working with legislators are two things that are so important because they truly embody the spirit of preventive medicine! Being able to get outside of the clinic walls and affect upstream factors of health outcomes is so important! I’m excited for the journey ahead! It’s been an exciting month!
By: Jasmine Zapata, MD