Interning at NTU has been such a great experience so far. Not only was I able to visit places I would have never gone, including visiting the infamous No. 6 Naphtha Petrochemical Complex, but I was also able to see environmental issues from a new perspective and learn new skills here such as R (programming language). I think since I’m working at a university, a lot of skills I learned from global health related courses apply to the work I’m doing here. I would say Health Impact Assessment (HIA) and Geographic Information System (GIS) are the two most relevant skills/ knowledge.
My whole project here is a HIA on the No. 6 Naphtha Complex, focusing mainly on air pollution, but also including other factors such as water quality, physical activity, mental health, nutrition, etc. From taking the HIA class I can relate what aspects of a community is likely affected from the project (operation of complex), and ways to formulate community intervention programs to increase community/ stakeholder participation and to build a sense of empowerment. In addition, I can offer recommendations for ways to alleviate the health effects from the petrochemical complex. The health effects from the complex is also related to one of my environmental health classes of exposure assessment, which helps in understanding the relation of ambient exposure and the amount of pollutant that is actually absorbed into the body.
For GIS, I will be using this technique to map out local food sources for high and low exposure areas to the petrochemical complex, to gain a better idea of the types of food people are eating and how far they have to travel to purchase food. Although this is part of another student’s study on the effects on antioxidants to exposure, I will include a section on nutrition in my HIA.
This is just the beginning stages of my project/ report, and I’m sure there will be more opportunities for me to apply my knowledge from the classroom to this project. It is really exciting to get the chance to see a real-life application of global health related courses.