Here is a blog featuring Carolina Arredondo Sanchez-Lira from Lane County Public Health in Oregon. Carolina was one of the DIS Engage scholarship winners from STD Engage 2018.
During STD Engage 2018, I was able to connect with different DISs that are doing magnificent work across the United States. Throughout the meeting, we were able to connect with each other and talk about the different ways our programs are structured, how they function, what works best and some of our challenges. However, the most valuable learning experience that I will most definitely put into practice as a DIS will be the importance to think out of the box and ask for help from other DISs when needed. As DISs we often come across difficult situations and we do not know how to approach them. However, talking to other DISs, especially the ones within my state, has given the opportunity to create valuable resources for when I need a different approach to a challenging case.
One common theme that I heard throughout the neeting is the need to be constant about the training given to program managers and DISs. It was a great opportunity to hear from different peers that they would love to see more training specifically designed for DISs. Often times, when you have recently begun this line of work or have done it for many years, a lot of the information may be vague. Therefore, an important new skill to be incorporated into training would be how to do more engaging interviews.
Definitely, coming from Oregon, I surely enjoyed the beautiful sunshine. However, I surely enjoyed being able to connect with other DISs and listen to their stories, especially since I am very new to this position. As well, I enjoyed being able to learn how different Public Health programs have done outreach to bookstores or jails to promote the importance of testing. In conclusion, STD Engage was a great learning opportunity because it allowed me to learn about other programs and their different approaches to common issues we face in our department.
Carolina Arredondo Sanchez-Lira, originally from a town called Guanajuato in Mexico, came to the U.S. to study abroad 9 years ago. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Political Science and Latin American Studies. For the last four years, she has volunteered with a mobile clinic in Tijuana, Mexico, that focuses on providing medical assistance to drug users and sex workers. Carolina has now been working with Lane County Public Health for almost two years. Before she was hired as a Community Health Worker/DIS, Carolina worked on a program called Soy Sano!/I’m Healthy!, which focused on providing primary health care assistance to immigrant kids. However, after graduating she made the decision to broaden her expertise by working as a DIS, learning more about STIs and the need to bring awareness to her community. During her free time, Carolina enjoys a long hike or prepping for her radio show which airs on Sunday nights.