Research In Action
Research In Action
Growing up, I knew I was interested in science and health. I wanted to pursue a career in which I felt like I was helping people and making a difference. Medical school did not feel like the right fit, so I wasn’t sure what my future would look like until I discovered public health. The field brings together my interests in many different areas and allows for a holistic view of assessing health. I have enjoyed my coursework thus far, but before this summer I still did not know which career track I should pursue.
My time as a 2022 Injury Science Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) student at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) taught me about career options and helped me envision a career in research. During the REU program, I worked on two projects within the Epidemiology team: the creation of the New Jersey Safety and Health Outcomes (NJ-SHO) Resource Center with the NJ Department of Highway Traffic Safety (NJ DHTS) and the Cellular Car Seat (CCS) project with Minnesota HealthSolutions.
The NJ-SHO Data Warehouse links together data sources, which fills in gaps in research and creates the opportunity to examine traffic safety and transportation equity across the lifespan. This summer I worked with the NJ-SHO team on the beginning stages of turning the NJ-SHO Data Warehouse into a data dashboard housed in a Resource Center. The Center’s website will be public-facing, interactive, and accessible. Besides the data dashboard’s metrics, the website will provide downloadable resources for stakeholders to share. The goal is to promote data and information sharing to reduce injury and support safe transport for all.
Creating Content That Resonates
I worked with the NJ-SHO team on creating content for the website, designing the overall feel of the website, and creating a promotion plan for development of the Resource Center. One of my main responsibilities this summer was writing plain language summaries of peer-reviewed papers that used the NJ-SHO Data Warehouse. I also researched traffic safety and transportation equity stakeholders in NJ and drafted social media content about NJ-SHO research and the Resource Center. Additionally, I helped draft and revise the Center’s mission and vision statements based on feedback from the team.
Through this work, I worked with outreach team members, project managers, and epidemiologists. I learned about collaborating with an interdisciplinary team and enjoyed seeing all team members bring their knowledge and expertise to our weekly team meetings. I also learned about the importance of acting on research results, especially when identifying disparities and areas of potential improvement.
In addition to my two projects, I attended seminars through the REU program where I heard from experts on a variety of topics. I also learned about the other work happening at CIRP through journal clubs with the other REU students. The welcoming culture at CIRP made it easy to jump into this work this summer, and I am excited to continue working with the team this coming year as they work towards a fully functional Resource Center.