Recent MPH Graduate Determined to Make a Difference

Published: June 17th, 2012

Category: Student News

Nicole Dantes, a recent MPH graduate, is determined to make a difference as a public health professional. Nicole recently completed her culminating internship with Northeast Florida Area Health Education Centers (NEFAHEC) in which she worked in Clay County. Nicole was responsible for interviewing key stakeholders in the community regarding their willingness to participate in one of AHEC’s initiatives, Quit Smoking Now (QSN). This task required Nicole to navigate Clay County, an area in which she was not familiar, and learn how to effectively communicate with communities. By shadowing facilitators of the QSN program and making relationships in the community, Nicole gained important skills such as motivational interviewing techniques and culturally competent communication skills.

In addition to working in the community, Nicole also took on the arduous task of compiling data from 2008-2011 to illustrate the growth of the QSN program, specifically for NEFAHEC. This required Nicole to determine where most of the call-in’s for the QSN program were coming from, to identify how people were being referred to the program, and lastly, to evaluate completion rates to determine which counties had the most individuals complete the QSN 6-week program.

Nicole commented on how grateful she is that her MPH advisor, Dr. Rodriguez, helped her find the internship position. I’m so lucky to have had the experience and opportunity with NEFAHEC, she said.

Nicole, however, is not the only one who feels fortunate for her experience with NEFAHEC. “Her internship with us the past four months has been an amazing and rewarding experience for our staff, community partners and the seven counties in which we serve,” said Karen Nutter, Tobacco Program Manager.

After completing her internship, Nicole accepted a position with NEFAHEC where she works with their Tobacco Team as an Academic Coordinator.