One of the Act’s most important provisions involved the establishment of a Prevention and Public Health Fund. This Fund, which provides 16.5 billion dollars over the next ten years for prevention efforts, has come under attack along with the entire healthcare reform bill. Through showing regular
citizens and members of congress that the Fund and its programs are making a difference, TFAH can help ensure that the Fund survives and continues to benefit communities.
Besides collecting success stories, there were several smaller projects that I contributed to on a regular basis. I helped design Microsoft Excel timelines of government designated actions for the National Prevention Strategy and the government’s Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis, so that TFAH can monitor progress and step in as needed. When needed, I researched organizations within different communities (education, faith, business, etc.) that TFAH hopes to reach out to in the future in order to train them to deliver preventive messages and programs.
Lara: Did you feel you had an impact in achieving specific TFAH goals?
Kira: I definitely felt that the projects I worked on helped TFAH with some of its goals. The document with all the success stories I created is already on the TFAH website to help educate the public and lawmakers on the benefits of the Prevention and Public Health Fund and the ways communities are making a difference in the health of Americans. The viral hepatitis timeline I worked on is helping people across several organizations to effectively track progress on viral hepatitis prevention efforts. Finally, I like to think that the research I did on different organizations has helped TFAH expand its efforts and reach a broader community.
Lara: What aspects of your work did you find most challenging?
Kira: The most challenging thing about working at TFAH was probably being thrown into the experience with so little background in public health and advocacy. Luckily, I wrote a policy paper for high school on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, so I was familiar with some of the provisions and overall goals of the law. Beyond that, I knew very little about the public health world. When time permitted, I tried to familiarize myself with some of the terms I would often hear floating around but never really understood. Often, when researching an organization or government initiative, I would have to do some extra background research so that I could comprehend what I was reading.
Lara: Would you recommend working at TFAH? Why?
Kira: After my great experience, I would strongly recommend working at TFAH. The atmosphere and the people there were extremely friendly and welcoming. My colleagues were excellent about involving me on projects and including me in a range of different things to ensure that I got a well rounded experience. By the end of my four months, I had participated in a lobby day on Capitol Hill, attended meetings with different members of the public health community, and taken part in conference calls about projects I had worked on. There was always enough to do, and I rarely had to busy myself with office tasks like stapling and copying. I found most of the work engaging and interesting, and I learned a lot about public health – a field I am hoping to pursue in college and beyond.
Kira Bromwich’s Summer at the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH)
Lara: What are TFAH's main activities?
Kira: Trust for America’s Health is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that advocates for disease prevention in communities all across the nation. TFAH aims to shift the United States healthcare system’s focus from treatment to preventative efforts, particularly for at-risk populations. TFAH believes strongly in the link between community and clinical healthcare – that is to say that prevention begins with healthy and supportive communities. In addition to lobbying and advocacy efforts, TFAH regularly releases reports on issues like obesity.
Lara: What were your particular responsibilities at TFAH this summer?
Kira: This summer, I worked with TFAH on a number of issues. One of my main responsibilities was collecting stories demonstrating how resources from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are benefiting communities throughout the United States.