The South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations is excited to welcome Emma Sihler as one of two 2021 Summer interns. Emma is part of a larger internship program ran through the Office for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion through John Hopkins and the University of South Dakota. It is called, Maternal Child Health Careers/ Research Initiatives for Student Enhancement-Undergraduate Program (MCHC/RISE-UP). The program pairs college students from across the country with internships that match their field of interest.
Emma is from Helena Montana and is currently attending Montana State University in Bozeman. She part of the Honors college and plans to graduate in 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Cell Biology/ Neuroscience and political science with a minor in Global Health. Emma plans to peruse a master’s degree in public health.
Growing up Emma had a lot of interactions with healthcare systems and became interested in the intersection of science, society, and well-being. When she began her college career Emma started off in biomedical research, but soon realized it was not for her. “I felt very removed from the people component. I missed interacting with the community in a meaningful way. I also began to understand both how expensive medical research is and how few people have access to the medical technology that already exists.” Emma then shifted her direction to focus more on medicine and public health. Emma is also part of an undergraduate research program in Community health. It is called The Guardians of the Living Water Project, which has allowed Emma to work with the Crow Nation in southeastern Montana. The focus of the project is to teach health literacy and encourage students to create change within their community. The project also focuses on water quality. In addition, Emma has been part of community health and trauma work in Montana, which has validated her true passion to pursue a career that will help people to be health enabled which includes everything from literacy to access.
As part of the SDAHO team Emma is focusing on workforce recruitment strategies and paramedic supervision laws that have been effective in other states. Emma will help the SDAHO team share key information to members through the Unified Voice Newsletter, the website, and social media platforms SDAHO manages.
As Emma looks to her future, she is not exactly sure what her dream job will be, but she hopes it involves work that expands access and literacy in rural and other underserved areas in Montana. Emma has already recognized the similarities between South Dakota and Montana’s healthcare needs and looks forward to taking what she learns from her SDAHO internship to assist with her future endeavors serving the healthcare community. When not studying or assisting SDAHO, Emma volunteers in her community. She serves The Voice Center, an organization that provides support to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. She also volunteers for the Heart Initiative, a program that provides awareness to human trafficking. Emma also enjoys being outside hiking, bike riding, canoeing, or spending time with her pets and horses. Emma will part of the SDAHO team remotely through the rest of the summer.
Join us in welcoming Emma Sihler to our team this summer!