As I reflect on my ten-week internship with the Medical Examiner’s Office, I want to say how lucky I am to have had another intern beside me throughout it all. The two of us sat in on, listened to, and read about emotionally taxing material that it was so important having another there to keep us grounded. We entered cases into the national registry for child deaths that were heart wrenching and at times almost surreal, and I felt comforted knowing that I was not alone on the job with both my supervisors’ and the other intern’s support.
I leave this summer more humbled, more thankful for what I have been afforded in life. There are families in Philadelphia facing difficult hurdles, whether that may be a relative’s incarceration, drug addiction or mental health diagnosis, or all of the above. And for all of the tough losses that these families and many others may experience, this city is filled with passionate individuals who work to honor the city of Philadelphia and its residents. The investigators, social workers, bereavement care counselors, pathologists, and district attorneys that I had the chance to meet come from diverse backgrounds, however they all understand the value of public service.
After this internship, I am curious how I can incorporate public service into my future career plans. I do not know yet what I will do post-graduation, but I will keep at the front of my mind the option to volunteer for a year or more. I look forward to seeing how my experience this summer may change my focus this fall. I hope to find public health professors with whom I can work to analyze the health disparities I saw while reading fatality cases. Lastly, I will miss my two supervisors, who developed an internship they wish they could have had when they were my age.