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Eileen Zhu (CDE)

Remote epidemiology intern with Kaiser Permanente Research and Development, based in Pasadena, California.

Career Goal

Like some of her fellow interns, Eileen Zhu, MPH ’23 (Chronic Disease Epidemiology), worked remotely in the summer of 2022.

In the short term, I’m hoping to take on a project management role for research teams that work on health outcomes research and perinatal epidemiology projects. In the long term, I hope to eventually pursue my PhD in Bioinformatics or Computational Biology, and lead my own projects.

Internship Outline

My responsibilities were most closely described as a data analyst. I was responsible for analyzing primary and secondary data, writing original code, and collaborating with clinicians to build a program that was more closely aligned with community needs. This summer, I worked on the “Low Utilizer Asthma Study,” where I investigated the social determinants of health in relation to asthma outcomes.

Value of Experience

Kaiser Permanente is a great place to intern virtually, if you’re looking for an intensive and involved experience. Though I was given plenty of guidance from my scientist and manager, as an intern, you are expected to be the lead on your project and to manage your own timeline. I definitely learned how to be more independent and to develop my project management skills. I also think that KP has a wealth of electronic health records and study data that are very valuable to an epidemiologist, and it was a pleasure, and challenge, to self-learn their data sources. KP also provides plenty of other chances to expand your skills. This summer, I joined their Intern-novate case competition and my team won first place!

Best Moment/Experience

The most rewarding aspect was definitely the friendly and warm work environment. I always felt supported! I found being remote a bit challenging, but it’s the reality of post-pandemic internships. Kaiser is hoping to be completely in-person next year. And the most surprising would be the networking opportunities. I got to meet so many high-level professionals and also talk to professionals in fields completely different from my own.

How did your first year at YSPH prepare you for this internship?

AAMIE! [That’s Advanced Applied Analytic Methods in Epidemiology.] SAS coding is still very relevant to Epidemiology departments, and it was important to have at least a basic understanding of the program to succeed in my internship.

What would you say to a student who’s considering a similar internship?

Reach out to current employees and past employees to learn about their experience. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to past interns or the scientist you’re looking to work under. They appreciate the enthusiasm!

Funding Source

Paid Internship (Kaiser Permanente)