AAP Climate Change and Health Interns: Imagine Your Hope
June 13, 2020
Blogging as Dr. Plastic Picker has helped my career. I was not looking to advance beyond Assistant Boss, but it’s amazing that being able to think aloud on the blog has helped me organize several important work projects. Above is the picture inspired by Dr. Seuss’s characters, and we finished a leadership document entitled “Thing One, Thing Two, Thing Three” about the Assistant Boss positions. The actual document was only two pages, but summed up succinctly some fundamental shifts we wanted to make in our leadership structure. Many of those ideas I pondered in three separate seemingly tangential and unrelated blogposts on leadership, “Leadership opportunities are everywhere. Don’t just go to the blue light special” https://drplasticpicker.com/leadership-opportunities-are-everywhere-dont-just-go-to-the-blue-light-special/, “Raising Leaders: Random Thoughts About Work, my Kids and my patients” https://drplasticpicker.com/raising-leaders-random-thoughts-about-work-my-kids-and-my-patients/ and “Let 2020’s Failure by a Reminder of you, You are the Leader our World Needs https://drplasticpicker.com/let-2020s-failure-be-a-reminder-for-you-you-are-a-leader-our-world-needs/. The blogs were indeed related. I’m not sure how many people read the blogposts. The blog analytics showed they were decently popular. But the best part of writing the three posts is that it helped me with several work projects. So much for running from work and picking up plastic on the beach! I’m still doing that work which is my passion, and I’m “Thing One” of the three things LOL. “Thing Two and Thing Three” are pretty amazing as well.
I was thinking of writing our Leadership Manifesto into a more formal post for KevinMD, but I think I will have to pass. I have two other projects that I have to get done. I don’t want to get distracted with trying to get more internet fame. That was never the goal of this blog or writing anyway. It’s better to be anonymous and producitve than famous and inert. The two projects I am working on is a social media content project to increase pediatric vaccine rates with RN Plastic Picker. I just talked to our quality big boss and he thinks it is a good idea. That will be next week during work. The other project is not work that I get paid for, but is as important which is the environmental work. Again if we don’t slow down climate change, all the money in the world is not going to make a difference.
I remain Co-Chair of our local AAP Climate Change and Healh Committee. I Co-Chair this committe with Dr. Sally Kaufman https://drplasticpicker.com/dr-sally-kaufman-pediatrician-and-environmentalist-3/. We have two big projects we want to accomplish this year. One is to host the AAP National Conference & Exhibition Service Project. It was supposed to be a mega-beach clean-up which we would partner with I Love A Clean San Diego. Most of the legwork for that project was done, but then COVID-19 hit. Now that we are a few months into COVID-19, I did reach out to the AAP Conference team to see where they were in their planning. The second project is a Regional Art Submission Exhibition regarding a Climate Topic. This is a passion project that would be great to bring our committee together as we are starting out.
With this project we have two volunteer interns who are premed and prenursing college students. They are former patients who are absolutely delightful and have helped us with our beach cleanups and are passionate about the environment. I would like to use the rest of this post to sort out my thoughts on what this art submission project would entail and what they would gain from it.
AAP Climate Change and Health Committee Interns (2)
What Do Interns Get Out of It?
- Mentorship on focused and sustainable medical and environmental projects
- Networking with supportive and vetted Health Professionals
- Project that can lead to a Poster Presentation at a Conference
- Project can lead to Letter of Recommendation
- Can do some preprofessional advising for them including reviewing resumes.
- If shadowing or clinical opportunities open up like with Good Samaritans at UCSD or our local Global Scholars Program, I can let them know. It’s hard to shadow in our organization due to liability.
What Do Interns Do?
- Limited and focused readings on Environmental Health Topics
- Attend limited AAP Climate Change and Health Local Chapter Meetings (we don’t want to make it onerous).
- No more than 3 hours a week
- Organize younger students in tasks
- Perhaps we can organize once a year journal club on an Environmental Health Topic and it can be a “publication” for them. Topics we have been considering include veganism/vegetarianism/plant based eating and pediatric asthma and air pollution.
What Needs To Be Done?
- Pick a topic/prompt that is catchy
- Select how they want to split up the categories, I had arbitrary picked Photography, Poems/Prose, and 2D Art
- What are their goals for the project
- What skill sets does each of the interns bring to the project, and how can we best utilize those skills
And that is it. This was a very helpful post to write. I will actually just send them a link to this blog rather than composing a separate email. I spent almost a decade as a Premedical Advisor, Sophomore Tutor, and House Tutor in the Harvard system. Both Mr. Plastic Picker and I did this as we received free room and board during medical school and residency, and it was an interesting skill set to have. I have written many many letters of recommendation on behalf of Harvard Univeristy for students to different graduate schools, professional schools, and fellowships.
That time spent being a premedical and undergraduate advisor was helpful both for me professionally and my students. I remain close with many of them as am proud of them as I hear they gain professorships, run institutes, and do amazing things like reroute the entire vasculature of a limb. Now I am a middle-aged pediatrician middle-manager that picks up litter and makes trash art. But I keep those old mentoring skills sharp and use them for good, like helping two kind and accomplished young women. And those young women will help a group of volunteer students who will help organize. And all of us will help the environment. And then there will be less plastic to pick up and more oxygen to breath for all of us. Including the young person below, my tween daughter. I know that someone will create an opportunity for her later. She is like our two interns, kind and good hearted. She creates her own opportunities.