My name is Will Christmann ’21, and I am a grateful recipient of the CDC Summer Experience Fund! This summer, I have been interning at Health Imperatives in Hyannis, MA. Words can’t express how rewarding an experience this has been, and how thankful I am that the CDC has sponsored my internship. Public Health (and Sexual Health in particular) has been at the forefront of my passions for the past couple of years. I was lucky enough to grow up in a home and religious community where sexuality was discussed accurately and candidly. As I matured, I realized that few are lucky enough to grow up in such spaces. In my schooling, I’ve learned that cultural, economic, gendered, and racial forces create the great divide in sexual education and care in the United States. I plan to (in whichever way I can) somehow tackle that divide.
Since joining the Skidmore community, I’ve taken steps towards my goal. I have become a Peer Health Educator, and I’m psyched to lead the Sexual Health Committee in the fall. I declared my Sociology major last fall in hopes of getting a better understanding of how one’s identity affects their education and health care options as well. Last spring I started searching for an internship online, and I am so glad I found Health Imperatives.
Health Imperatives is devoted to providing care to underprivileged communities on Cape Cod and the rest of South-Eastern Massachusetts. They have several different agencies within the organization, including Sexual and Reproductive Health (where I work), Women Infants and Children (WIC), and Healthy Families ( which provides home visits and services to teen parents). At Sexual and Reproductive Health, we accept all forms of insurance, and operate on a sliding scale for the uninsured.
As an intern, I’ve had several different responsibilities, with outreach being the most important. Throughout the summer, I have traveled to different communities on the Cape to share information about Health Imperatives and the services we offer. This job has taken me to affordable housing projects in Hyannis, Bear Week in Provincetown, and the Tisbury Street Fair in Martha’s Vineyard. Chatting with locals about the organization and what we offer has been fun as well as rewarding. In addition to outreach, I’ve also been doing some work in the office such as organizing medical charts, securing donors, and planning for future events. Out of all my responsibilities, my favorite has been working with the youth at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School in their new Peer Teen Sexual Educators group, created by Health Imperatives. I’ve advised the passionate teens on leadership, ways to communicate with their peers, and other methods to get them more involved in their community. I also have reached out to the principle of Barnstable High School in hopes of setting up a similar program there.
I’ll be sad to leave Health Imperatives in a few weeks, but I’ll be staying in touch with them and working remotely from Saratoga in the fall!