Clare Doyle, Class of 2014

Major: Science in Society Program; Organization: Martha Eliot Health Center, Children's Hospital Boston; Location: Boston, MA

Clare Doyle, Class of 2014

As a summer intern at the Martha Eliot Health Center, I worked for the nutrition department assisting with the I’m iN Charge (INC) fitness and nutrition program.  INC is a childhood obesity prevention program that encourages long-term behavioral changes and educates at-risk children and families about proper nutrition, physical activity, and healthy lifestyle changes.  My day to day activities included patient outreach and administrative tasks, such as regular calls to patients, often through an interpreter service, reminding them of scheduled appointments and inviting them to special programs and events at Martha Eliot. I did research for the program directors on local, low cost summer camp programs and free sports leagues and exercise classes. 

I worked on three special programs at Martha Eliot during my internship.  During the month of June I did outreach to INC patients and helped organize a summer cooking class for parents and children.  I made calls to over 50 patients and was able to register 16 families for the Cooking Matters program, a 6-week summer cooking class focused on the hands on teaching of healthy cooking skills to parents and children.  This class, which was offered free of charge, allows parents and their children to learn how to cook healthy meals together and provided each family with the necessary groceries to recreate every meal at home with their whole families. During the month of July I helped to organize a bicycle donation program which provided 10 young children with free bikes and helmets.  I was responsible for organizing the patient applications and assisting in planning the bicycle giveaway event.

Finally, the most challenging project I worked on this summer was a Somali patient outreach project for the broader health center.  Martha Eliot serves an unusually high volume of Somali refuge patients and in an effort to provide better treatment and programs for these families I helped organize a focus group intended to foster open communication and dialogue between this population of patients and the health center. I was responsible for recruiting the parents of our pediatric Somali patients to participate in the focus group, primarily through a diligent calling campaign.  Six Somali mothers volunteered to speak with us about their interactions with and perceptions of the US health care system and about specific experiences at Martha Eliot.  We had a very successful and open conversation with these parents.  I transcribed the meeting and produced a report of our findings and stories from the focus group, which have allowed the health center to better direct its care and services for the Somali population.