Hello! It’s Maria Esposito, again. Here with a practicum update!
I wrapped up my practicum in the beautiful and peaceful Jamestown, NY while visiting family. My practicum was focused on a soon-to-be implemented study examining differentiated care models for transgender people in Johannesburg, South Africa regarding their HIV care, led by Dr. Audrey Pettifor and Dr. Tonia Poteat in partnership with UNC and Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute. As part of this practicum, I reviewed several journal articles, interview questions, and compared clinic checklists on LGBTQ+ health and their quality of HIV care to assist in the creation of my practicum products: a facility-level checklist, and two interview guides (one focusing on patients at local clinics, and the other focusing on key informants – clinic providers and supervisors). The trickiest part of creating these products was figuring out the proper wording of questions and cutting down questions to make the interview shorter. I also received feedback from Wits IRH folks, which was extremely helpful considering they have more insight than I do about transgender folks in Johannesburg, South Africa.
However, the study isn’t over but just beginning. Dr. Pettifor and Dr. Poteat will be sending out my practicum products to be assessed by clinic supervisors and folks at Wits IRH before implementation begins. The study is expected to be piloted this Fall – but it may start in the New Year. And I am excited to see where it goes!
With that being said, I am thankful for this practicum opportunity and the mentorship Dr. Pettifor and Dr. Poteat provided. Before starting this practicum, I knew I wanted to re-engage with research again, specifically qualitative research. This experience has only confirmed that I find qualitative research extremely compelling and informative of a person’s individual experience. I am excited to see what the next step of my Public Health journey will be!