HCIF Internship Experience

April 23, 2021 | Valentina Moreno

Valentina Moreno joined HCIF in May 2020 as a Whitehead intern through Haverford College. After completing her Whitehead internship last summer, she continued working with HCIF as a Health Care Quality Intern and has played an integral role in providing support for several HCIF programs including PURC, OLAN, and PPC. As her internship comes to an end, HCIF would like to extend a sincere thanks to Valentina for her hard work and commitment and wishes her success in all her future endeavors!

There are few words capable of capturing the depth of gratitude I feel towards HCIF. I began my internship right as the world seemed to shift off kilter. On the heels of crushed expectations, fear, and confusion I began my position as an intern at HCIF. Somehow the uncertainty of the world felt subdued as I joined daily meetings with the amazing individuals that make up the organization. The clumsiness of a world trying to respond to an unprecedented pandemic was mediated by a group of dedicated individuals that continued to devote themselves entirely to their work. As a college student looking for my entry point into a career in health care, I was given free rein to pick the minds of staff with a diverse set of personal and professional backgrounds. To this day, I continue to be in awe of the skill and vigor with which everyone at HCIF approaches their work. 

During my time at HCIF I worked primarily on PURC, OLAN, the Safety Award, and HEDS. While every project has been fulfilling in its own right, I will most miss the excited calls that took place as part of the OLAN in preparation for regional meetings. There truly is something to be said about calls in which people can’t help but cut each other off in the sheer excitement of opportunities to improve patient care. I have observed passion like no other in this project from individuals who have given their lives to fight stigma and care for patients who deserve the highest health standards. The research I conducted to build out the resources and tools page for the project was rigorous, intellectually stimulating, and hope-inducing. In addition to my work with the OLAN team, I am particularly grateful for the opportunity to be on the HEDS team. The project, still in its nascent stages, is a welcome challenge. It has been incredibly instructional to witness the beginnings of a project firmly rooted in a vision for health equity. The project is timely and directly responsive to the local need for standardizing the collection of ReAL data. This project has inspired brainstorming in its most authentic forms — it has been completely and utterly thrilling to have autonomy as a team to decide the future scope of the project.

Beyond an exciting work environment and fulfilling work, however, what I will truly miss most about HCIF is the deep sense of community. It is hard to believe the connections I have made at HCIF were forged in an entirely remote setting. During my internship I moved from the US to London to Turkey and back and still somehow feel incredibly close to the Philly based organization. It is hard now to imagine what it will be like to not be on routine calls with familiar faces. While I have been working at HCIF just under a year it feels much longer–the growth I have experienced in this position is unparalleled. A year later things feel hopeful, and the world seems to be shifting back into kilter –despite the future still being ripe with uncertainty. HCIF has been a constant for me through the difficulty of this past year and for that it will forever have a place in my heart both professionally and personally. 

HCIF has given me the confidence to continue exploring my place in health care. I am concluding my time at HCIF to join Penn Hospital as a student data analyst with the Infection Control Department. While it is with great sadness that I leave HCIF it is also with great gratitude and excitement for what the future holds.

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