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Student Spotlight: Jordan Gaal

Where did you attend/or currently are attending school? (high school, university, etc)

I am attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

What would you like to do in healthcare?

My current goals are to get experience at a federal government agency and complete a Masters in Public Affairs and a Masters in Public Health directly after my undergraduate education. My career goals include working to improve access to healthcare in rural communities by utilizing effective communication and policy changes.

What was your first AHEC experience?

My first AHEC experience has been working with the program office as a communications intern. This was my first real involvement with public health. My second day I assisted with the Interprofessional Case Competition in the Wisconsin Dells; an interdisciplinary competition where teams present solutions to healthcare case studies. I learned the incredible importance of breaking down silos in the healthcare field and interprofessional work between physicians, social workers, veterinarians, nurses, public health workers, psychiatrists, etc.

Have you participated in other AHEC programming?

While working as a program office intern, I continued to attend the Wisconsin Express trip in Fennimore, which opened my eyes to the unique and varied health disparities in rural Wisconsin. I have also traveled with AHEC to Washington DC from the National AHEC Organization conference where I assisted in lobbying on Capitol Hill and gained amazing experience in health care advocacy.

Do you plan to take advantage of AHEC program in the future?

I plan to maybe take advantage of AHEC’s Community Health Internship Program (CHIP) and the amazing experiences that are made available through this program. I also hope to take part in Scenic Rivers AHEC’s mentoring program.

What advice would you give to younger students starting to navigate their future in a health care career?

It’s OK to change your mind! Even if you decide what you want to major in or what career you want, you might discover something new that you like even better. I wanted to be a biological sciences researcher when I came to UW-Madison, but I soon discovered communications and political advocacy. It was hard for me to change my mind and switch my major, but now that I have I couldn’t be happier with my future career goals. There are many paths in the health field and AHEC is there to help you choose the path that is best for you.

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