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Public health education student field work experiences serve community

Arsha Chacko, a student in the bachelor’s in public health education program, interned with the New Jersey Physicians Advisory Group. She is pictured here with Peggy Cowan, president and founder of NJPAG.

Arsha Chacko, a student in the bachelor’s in public health education program, interned with the New Jersey Physicians Advisory Group. She is pictured here with Peggy Cowan, president and founder of NJPAG.

Caldwell, N.J., March 7, 2017 – Caldwell University students in the bachelor’s in public health education program are receiving exciting hands-on internships and employment in the field of community health.

Arsha Chacko, the program’s first graduate, interned with  the New Jersey Physicians Advisory Group in the fall, assisting the nonprofit in its work of educating young people about sexual health. Senior Janae Bailey completed an internship with ADAPT of Essex County, which focuses on alcohol and drug use/abuse prevention among the young. She will be starting a job as a medical scribe with ScribeAmerica. Melanie Betancur, also a senior, has been hired by TeleNurse Network, which offers telemedicine. As part of her field work, she provided seniors at Marian Manor with health education on issues such as medication management and telemedicine. She also did health coaching at St.Joseph’s Regional Medical Center on the heart failure floor.

The university recently opened its Department of Public Health Education to train students to work in public and community health, explained Dr. Brenda Petersen, director of the department.  “We as a nation are being crushed by billions of dollars in treating diseases. We are excited that this department will be graduating health care workers who can make a difference in educating people about disease prevention and how to better manage chronic conditions,” she said.  Caldwell is one of the few programs of this type being offered on the undergraduate level.

Internships are an important part of the program, allowing students to gain valuable experience at nonprofit and community health organizations.

Chacko helped to prepare for conferences and to disseminate information about an NJPAG study that examined outcomes of “The Yes You Can” curriculum designed to encourage fifth- through twelfth-graders to live a strong and focused lifestyle and to postpone sexual involvement. “I really enjoyed this internship because it showed me a different experience than that of the hospital setting,” said Chacko.