Interning with AS – Non-profit Experience
By Ashna Dhaduti
Hi everyone! My name is Ashna Dhaduti, and I am a senior at the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in Public Health. This spring, I had the opportunity to be a Global Public Health intern for such an amazing non-profit organization. Initially, I joined Austin Smiles to gain exposure to a non-profit side of healthcare delivery and help support the organization’s mission and values. As a student pursuing a career in medicine and public health, I wanted to work towards a mission that addressed health disparities in medical care for an underserved population. Although my internship is not over yet, I have learned so much about how non-profits operate, the tremendous amount of work that goes into preparing for the mission trips that Austin Smiles goes on, and the strong sense of community that Austin Smiles can bring for children with cleft lip and cleft palate.
During my time as an intern, I have had the opportunity to work on various projects covering a range of the goals that Austin Smiles works towards. One of my tasks involved packing and unpacking medical supplies for the El Salvador trip this February. I have learned just how important it is to make sure that medical supplies are packed efficiently ahead of time to ensure that the surgeries performed go as planned. I have also worked on digitizing old patient records and organizing new patient records which has given me a large amount of insight into the patients that Austin Smiles serves. There is so much behind the scenes work that goes into preparing for the mission trips that Austin Smiles goes on. In addition to ensuring that medical supplies are packed, Austin Smiles works to provide accessible information about post surgical care to the families that they serve on their medical mission trips.
In March, I was able to go to Camp Amigo and experience first hand the community that Austin Smiles provides for children with cleft lip and cleft palate in Central Texas. I loved seeing how inspiring the camp was for the children in attendance. Being able to see the direct impacts of the work that Austin Smiles does has been a great experience. The amount of support that Austin Smiles provides for these children is truly incredible, and I am so grateful that I was able to be a part of it. I can confidently say that my time at Austin Smiles has been amazing, and I am so thankful for all the skills that Renee, Ellise, and the rest of the team has taught me. I hope to carry what I have learned with me in my career in the medical and public health fields!
Ashna Dhaduti, Global Public Health Intern Spring 2022
University of Texas at Austin