By Victoria Tan
My name is Victoria and I was an intern at APIFM this past summer. I am a Masters of Health student at UCLA and have previously worked in the mental health field. My career interests center on immigrant health issues, specifically Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian mental health. Coming from the end of my first year in graduate school, a lot of the coursework was theoretical and the internship opportunity at APIFM was a chance to directly work with the community that I grew up in.
Having grown up in the San Gabriel Valley, which has a large Asian population, APIFM’s mission and vision really struck a chord within me. I am from an immigrant family and those that I interacted with in the HEAL and ToP work were a reflection of my family and friends. In these three months, I have gotten opportunities to co-lead a nutrition series, create a culturally relevant nutrition education curriculum, research tobacco-related policy, and engage in conversation with local community members about topics that they find important. I have always seen the value of direct service work and believe it is needed so that individuals and communities can flourish.
One lesson that I was excited to present at the nutrition workshop was a lesson on rice. Something so simple as rice led a more personal discussion on cultural values and beliefs and so many of the participants at the workshop grew up during war-time in the Philippines. This idea of gratitude was a threat we carried through the series and that I continue to integrate into my professional and personal life.
Interning at APIFM was a chance to develop professional skills as well as form connections with local community organizations and leaders. I became more familiar with the non-profit sector and believe that APIFM is an organization that truly abides by its mission and creates an environment that is supportive and welcoming of everyone.
As my internship at APIFM comes to an end, I am inspired by the drive and heart that the staff members at APIFM have in the work they do. To the staff at APIFM and fellow interns Anna, Emily, Kimmie, Vickent, and Edwin, I thank you for the shared laughs and knowledge and for an enriching internship experience.