Interning with AS – Public Health Promotion
By Nida Momin
Hi! My name is Nida Momin, and I am a junior at the University of Texas at Austin. I am studying Public Health at the university, and I hope to get a Master’s in Public Health after I complete my undergrad. My focus for the future is on global health and health promotion.
Although public health is and has always been an important field, the need for public health has grown in the past few years. Medical non-profit organizations are crucial to promoting health equity in underserved populations. Most medical non-profits address more than one of the five components of public health: epidemiology, social and behavioral sciences, environmental health, biostatistics, and health policy and management. Without medical public health organizations, many health promotion campaigns around the world would not be possible.
Austin Smiles is a non-profit that is plays a crucial role in health promotion locally and globally. The organization places a focus on surgical and post-surgical care for children born with a cleft lip or palate. The work done by Austin Smiles addresses the public health principles of epidemiology and social and behavioral sciences. The surgeons who work with the non-profit are committed to providing physical treatment for children around the world. The organization works to address health and developmental impacts of children with a cleft lip or palate. With their help over the years, the lives of many families have been improved dramatically. Along with physical treatment, Austin Smiles focuses on providing post-surgical care as well. Keeping the social determinants of health in mind, the non-profit provides sustainable care to children and families. This includes mental health resources, speech/language therapy, and providing a supportive community for families. Children and families continue to use long-term services with the organization long after physical aid. For instance, Camp Amigo aims create a safe space for children born with a cleft lip and palate. As someone who worked closely with the preparation for Camp Amigo, I can say that it is a wonderful event to make kids feel appreciated and recognized. Although Camp Amigo is a small event, it helps children make long-lasting memories and friendships.
Organizations like Austin Smiles are crucial to health promotion and global health. The work this organization does locally and internationally, contributes to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations. SDG 3.8 aims to “achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.” Austin Smiles directly delivers effective and free healthcare in communities where it is needed. Working with Austin Smiles has been an eye-opening experience that has given me the opportunity to work in the realm of global health. The footprint Austin Smiles has on international public health will continue to impact the world for generations to come.
Nida Momin, Global Public Health Intern Spring 2022
University of Texas at Austin