Fellowship Reflections From Ismaila Ramon, AUCD-NCBDDD Disability Surveillance and Epidemiologic Research Fellow

Two Years at NCBDDD Working With the Disability and Health Team in the Division of Human Development and Disability (DHHD)

September 22, 2011

By Ismaila Ramon

The AUCD-NCBDDD Surveillance and Epidemiology Fellowship offers fellows the opportunity to work at NCBDDD under the supervision of top experts in the field.  My experience with the fellowship stands out as a life-changing one. The supportive environment at NCBDDD fosters mentoring and the training in public health and disability is filled with profound depth and breadth. The fellowship experience enhanced my competencies and taught me critical leadership skills.  I have been actively involved in projects that extend surveillance activities and increase understanding of the unmet needs of people with disabilities. I was able to harness health assessment skills; skills that are applicable in almost any public health initiative requiring formative evaluation.  A prime example of this stems from my role in an international effort to improve health surveillance data on people with intellectual disabilities in the United States. I engaged in assessment activities that highlighted the needs and challenges of studying people with intellectual disabilities. I was involved in the dissemination of vital information through manuscript development and conference presentationThrough my work in data analysis, I was exposed to national surveillance systemsMy deep involvement with the DHDD's Disability Policy, Intervention and Programs team presented unique opportunities to learn about policy development.

I was fortunate to be exposed to the intricacies of public health assurance. Key hands-on exposure includes my involvement in developing logic models and action plans for program interventions that are tied to measurable outcomes and impacts. This exercise enhanced my skills in program evaluation and performance monitoring; key public health measures that assist programs in becoming more effective and efficient in their day-to-day operations.

This experience would not have been possible without the help of all those who made this opportunity so unique- AUCD and NCBDDD.  I am grateful for my former colleagues at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the University of Kansas Research and Training Center on Independent Living as well as the CDC health professionals.  Their expertise, guidance and mentorship were essential to my experience. It is my hope that this fellowship opportunity will continue to be available to provide young professionals with the training and mentorship needed to advance their career in the field of health and disability.  Read more about AUCD-NCBDDD Fellowship opportunities.

This article was featured in the AUCD-NCBDDD Cooperative Agreement Newsletter.

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