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The HFA team welcomed a new group of students to our summer 2021 internship program! They participated in our annual Advocacy internship virtually, developing their passion in health care policy and self-advocacy. They participated in regular webinars and online training about legislative, policy and advocacy issues, learning more about hearings and what it means to work on Capitol Hill, building communications and media skills, and more.


Silas

The end of a journey鈥fter two and a half months, the other interns and I have finished our stay with the advocacy team at HFA. Leaving an opportunity like this is never fun, but it鈥檚 the finite nature of it that makes you savor it.

I鈥檓 grateful to Kimberly, Sonji, Mark, Miriam, and every other HFA employee I worked with, and of course my fellow interns. It was good to do this internship alongside you. I鈥檓 glad to have been able to reach out to you when I met a stumbling block or question. I hope to cross paths with y鈥檃ll in the future, and best of luck with whatever you continue to do. I hope everyone鈥檚 capstones were hammered out alright!

This internship leaves me much more equipped to take an advocacy position in the future, and I loved working on an issue that personally matters to me. Working on my capstone project was informative and fun, and I鈥檓 excited to run the trivia game (my capstone) live at a local camp later this week. Through this internship I was spurred to connect with my local chapter and get involved with this youth camp! I am very excited for that. I鈥檒l finish my last blog as an intern by mentioning the 2021 Virtual Young Adult Advocacy Summit, later this September, an excellent event to check out (and sign up by August 20th!).

Ryan

This is the final week of the internship. Although I am a bit upset that I will no longer be able to work alongside the other interns and the HFA team, I鈥檓 happy that I was able to have this ten-week experience. I have learned a lot, especially involving governmental policy. Although I would hear terms such as Medicaid expansion, lifetime caps, or Medicare, I did not have a very clear idea about their intricacies. After this internship, however, I am confident in my understandings and hope to use this knowledge to better hone my advocacy.

I have also learned how to read and synthesize information better. Having to read quite a lot of both government documents and media articles, I have learned about the general structure of each and can use that as a guide for key information. One thing that I have noticed is that both often start with the big picture and later dive into the more technical or detailed aspects of the story or the law. This allows me to have an easier time synthesizing and summarizing information. Overall, I highly recommend applying for this internship 鈥 there was never a day that I did not learn anything new and there was never a day where I couldn鈥檛 apply this knowledge to better advocate for the bleeding disorder community.

Justin

It is hard to believe that my time as a Policy and Government Relations intern with HFA has come to an end. These ten weeks have flown by faster than I could have imagined. Prior to this internship experience, all my work within the bleeding disorders had been focused on a local level, with involvement in my state chapter and volunteering at summer camps. Experience with advocacy, policy and doing work on a national level with bleeding disorders was something I had yet to be exposed to and was far different from the hands-on, ground level work I had done in the past. Advocacy efforts on a national scale ultimately trickle down to state chapters and local organizations, with the work that is done at the top proving instrumental to the greater bleeding disorder community that they serve. Since policy issues that inform the bleeding disorders community can often be niche, it was fascinating to see how broader health policy issues often weaved into different policy priorities that informed the bleeding disorders community. While listening to congressional hearings on topics such as Medicare reform, Medicaid expansion, and childcare access, I was able to make specific connections to the bleeding disorders community that I had previously never considered. I feel that this internship truly taught me how to contextualize policy on a broad scale and apply it in a relevant way under HFA鈥檚 scope.

I am beyond grateful for this experience, even in its virtual setting. The connections I have fostered with both my fellow interns and the staff at HFA have proven to be invaluable and the insight I have received from everyone I have worked with is something that I have truly grown to cherish. As I work towards my goal of becoming a public health professional, I am confident that the experiences and lessons learned throughout this internship will carry on throughout the rest of my future career. Although my summer internship may be over, I do not plan to end my involvement with HFA as the internship phases out. In the future, I plan to assist with the Young Adult Advocacy Summit, attend HFA鈥檚 annual symposium, and continue work on my capstone project to help the promotion of an award for the future leaders of the bleeding disorder community. I am so privileged to have gained a network of supportive individuals who are just as passionate about serving the bleeding disorder community as I am.


As our 2021 Summer Internship Program comes to an end, HFA wants to extend a special thank-you to our awesome Interns and wish them many successes as they embark on the next stage of life. Thank you to Takeda for their charitable donation, making the Policy and Government Relations internship possible.


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