One Month In: Better Family Life, Cultural, Educational, and Business Center

by A’Keisha Lee

I am exactly one month into my field placement opportunity at the Better Family Life, Cultural, Educational, and Business Center. My placement in the Cultural Arts department under the supervision of Ms. DeBorah Ahmed has been ideal. The Cultural Arts department aims to provide information, programs, and activities that exemplify the cultural and artistic traditions of the people of Africa and the African Diaspora. During my first week as an intern, I participated in the department’s annual event “Black Dance.” Attending Black Dance allowed me to interact with the community serviced by Better Family Life and gain a deeper appreciation for the space Better Family Life creates for the community. Black Dance provides community member with opportunities to engage in wellness activities that center the importance of their social identity as African people living in America.

My four internship projects are: to conduct research that explores the link between cultural competency and health outcomes; to explore curricula Better Family Life can implement to facilitate employee sessions on race, equity, and inclusion; research potential funding opportunities focused on the impact of inter-generational poverty; and to host a Town Hall meeting for the Better Family Life Community. My projects all focus on health equity and the role of community-based organizations in striving for social equality for marginalized populations.

So far I am experiencing a little bit of a learning curve when trying to implement the topics covered in my class to real-world deliverables. However, I do feel prepared to create logic models and research tasks associated with my internship projects.

My public health coursework has instilled within me the importance of understanding the community when trying to create intervention programs. With that in mind, I have spent the first month of my internship conducting foundational research on the history of the topics surrounding my internship projects. Because I am not from the Saint Louis Area or a member of the Better Family Life organization, I wanted to increase my understanding of the culture and context of why disparities exist within Saint Louis and Better Family Life’s role in the community historically.

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