Intern Introspective: Introducing La’Brittinee and Paul

Earlier this year, we opened applications for a ten-week policy & government relations internship* for this summer. We are excited to introduce you to the two candidates that we selected! La’Brittinee & Paul are part of the bleeding disorders community and have been chosen because of their leadership qualities and interest in the field of policy and government relations.
During the summer, La’Brittinee & Paul will engage in a variety of hands-on activities including:

  • Legislative, policy, and advocacy training
  • Attending hearings and Hill office visits
  • Visiting with executive branch agencies (ex.: FDA meetings, NIH)
  • Team and network building
  • Collaborative activities with HFA partners and coalitions, like NORD, APLUS, CAT, PPTA, PBC, etc.
  • Authoring a specific policy work paper or issue brief
  • Building communication and media skills
  • Supporting HFA staff on activities including Dear Addy, action alerts, and social media outreach
  • And more!

Throughout the summer, La’Brittinee & Paul will be telling you what they’re doing and learning. Get to know these two future leaders of the bleeding disorders community!

  1. What school do you attend? What is your major?

La’Brittinee: I am a student at the University of Tennessee Knoxville majoring in political science with a pre-law & public policy administration concentration.
Paul: I am a student at Paradise Valley Community College. My major is currently nursing.

  1. Why did you apply for the HFA policy internship?

La’Brittinee: I applied for the HFA internship to expand my experience in advocating and to learn more about public policy.
Paul: During the Washington Days event, I had the chance to really make a difference in the community through advocacy and leadership. As soon as I got back home, I learned about the internship opportunity being sponsored by the HFA. I looked through the requirements and the type of person that they were looking for and felt that I fit into those parameters pretty well. I saw this as a chance to continue advocacy work and continue learning how to effectively convey a message that needs to be heard.

  1. What does it mean to be an advocate in the bleeding disorders community?

La’Brittinee: Advocating in the bleeding disorder means pushing hard to raise awareness. It also means being willing to address any issue that impacts our community.
Paul: To be an advocate in the bleeding disorders community is a huge step in taking control over your quality of life. Many people simply are not even aware of what Hemophilia, Von Willebrand’s, or platelet dysfunctions even are. Any interaction can become a teaching moment and an advocate is always ready and willing to teach in an effective way that is also easy to understand. It is important for them to understand why we bleed and the extraordinary costs involved when it comes to treating our disorder. I have found through my own experiences that when these two facts are effectively shared, people often feel the need to relay the message to others.

  1. What excites you most about being at HFA?

La’Brittinee: I have a true passion for this community and the obstacles we face. I feel we are the small voice often ignored. This summer I hope to make a difference. I’m totally excited about the learning opportunity.
Paul: I have never done anything at this magnitude before. The entire experience is blowing me away just thinking of all the opened doors and opportunities that are coming my way. I think the most exciting of all is finally having a chance to earn a voice within the community.

  1. What is one thing you hope to get out of this internship?

La’Brittinee: I hope I learn how to be a stronger advocate and learn how to move policy forward to those highest up who can make a difference.
Paul: I am hoping that I may exponentially grow in a variety of areas that will ultimately benefit the Hemophilia Federation of America and the Arizona Hemophilia Association. I want to make them proud of the work that I do.

  1. What are you most excited about living and working in Washington, D.C.?

La’Brittinee: I have been excited about D.C. since second grade. This is where the fate of our world is decided. This is where the laws of the land start. I’ll be right here in the mix.
Paul: My experience in D.C. really had a profound impact on me. When I stood in front of our nation’s capital for the first time, it was the most patriotic experience of my life. Washington D.C. is the home of all Americans. I am so excited to see our rich American history and continue walking in the footsteps of greatness that came before me.

  1. Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

La’Brittinee: I was raised on a farm in small town Batesville, MS with big city dreams. I lost both of my parents at the age of 1 leaving me to be raised by my grandmothers. This blessed me with an old soul and true passion for helping others. I like to think I was raised in the best of both worlds with one grandmother living in rural Mississippi and the other in urban Tennessee. I developed a passion for advocating in the hemophilia community when my first cousin was born with severe hemophilia in 2008.  Since, I’ve worked the Tennessee hemophilia camp for four consecutive years and been adopted into the blood family. Advocating on behalf of the bleeding disorders community is a high priority of mine and it’s an honor to one be selected as one of HFA’s summer interns allowed to give back to my community on federal and state levels while also connecting three things dear to my heart… policy, advocating, and bleeders !
Paul: I really love my family. I have a big family and I want to thank all of them. Each one of my family members, younger or older, human, canine, or feline, they have loved me, raised me, and shaped me over the years into the person that I am today. I would not be here if it was not for them, as each one of them is integral to my life. I will miss them but I love them all. I will be sad to leave, glad to do important work, and overjoyed to come back home.
*HFA thanks Shire and CSL Behring for their unrestricted advocacy grant to make these internships possible.