For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

MPH Student’s Dual Internships in Maternal and Child Health Policy

Lita Lillibridge

November 1, 2023

Lita Lillibridge, a second-year Master of Public Health (MPH) student in the department of Health Management and Policy with a minor in Maternal and Child Health (MCH), has been busy with back-to-back internships through this summer and fall.

Lita completed a Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Block Grant internship over the summer with the Wyoming Department of Health. The Title V program is a partnership between the federal government and states that supports the health and wellbeing of mothers, children, and families.

Lita was also selected as a Policy Intern at the Association of MCH Programs (AMCHP), a national organization whose members are working to strengthen maternal and child health public health systems. This fall, as part of AMCHP’s Government Affairs team, Lita is supporting policy efforts such as tracking federal legislation, tracking bills, and attending Congressional hearings.

“Both of these are very competitive internships that provide fantastic opportunities. It’s a great achievement for Lita that she was selected,” said Renee Davis, MD, MPH, Program Coordinator & Senior Research Associate for Drexel’s Maternal and Child Health Program.

Lita also serves as president of the student organization Peer Health Educators at Drexel.

Learn more about Lita’s experiences:

In your Title V internship, what were your duties?

I worked in the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) department in Wyoming alongside a fellow intern. Our goal was to research current initiatives to address smoking and tobacco cessation amongst rural and pregnant populations. Through informational interviews—including across state lines to Utah and Montana Departments of Health—working with the Epidemiology department, and conducting a literature review, we created an implementation plan to address smoking cessation.

Alongside this, I was given the opportunity to network and have informational interviews with the Wyoming Department of Health staff to discuss career goals, insights, and tips.

What drives you to work in MCH?

As morbidity and mortality rises in the United States, and as health continues to deteriorate in preventable ways in people that I care about, I realized that there had to be something more to the story.

I want to address, from a Life Course Perspective, women’s health and reproductive health through policy and programmatic efforts, advocating for a better future and awareness of the importance of MCH, as its impacts are seen through generations and within communities. For me, it starts with MCH, to build better and healthier communities.

How have you seen your work have an impact?

I received feedback from the Wyoming Department of Health that the implementation plan could be utilized in their programs. I do know that with policy and programs (and government), things take time. I hope in the next few years, I can see the true impact of my work.

What are you most proud of so far in your public health journey?

I am proud of my drive and commitment to the cause. With political drawbacks and a distressing world climate, it would be understandable to lose hope. But I have always been told I’m tenacious and I will continue the uphill battle toward progress in public health.

Why did you choose to pursue public health as a career and why Dornsife?

Previously, I was interested in Psychology and mental health, hoping to become a therapist. I care about making a positive impact and building resilience, and with help from mentors, I grew to realize that what I truly wanted was to make a systems-change impact. This could only be done through public health, within communities, to celebrate our nuanced, dynamic systems. I liked Dornsife because it allowed me to make connections and through APEs and ILEs, gain hands-on experience in the field.

What are your hopes for your future career?

I hope in any career I have and pursue, that I make a positive impact and bring some light in the world. Through policy, programs, and other initiatives, I hope that I can support maternal and child health, women’s health, and communities. I hope to see progress and community benefits, and hope that I can make positive changes within my own community.

Learn more about our Maternal and Child Health Program at Dornsife

Students who are interested in the Title V MCH Block Grant internship program should contact Renee Davis.