SPS Health Policy and Management Student Spotlight: Kiley Brennan ’22

Tell us about the Haley Petit Injury and Violence Prevention Fellowship award you recently received.

During the summer, I interned at the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence as a Health Professional Outreach intern. It was at the recommendation of the CEO, Karen Jarmoc, that I applied for the Hayley Petit Injury and Violence Prevention Fellowship. There is a significant amount of meaning and value behind why this fellowship exists. In 2007 members of the Petit family were victims of violence that resulted in the loss of Dr. Petit’s two amazing daughters and loving wife. In their memory, Dr. Petit and some close friends and relatives created the Petit Family Foundation. This fellowship is one of the ways the foundation carries out its goal to educate young women with an interest in health sciences.

What is your research focus for the fellowship?

I am studying the impact that being overweight, or obese, has on falls in the older population. Specifically I am looking at previous studies to find where there are gaps that can be filled by further research. The ultimate goal is to find a way to prevent the fall from occurring. I hope that this research and experience will segue-way into internship opportunities for the Summer of 2021.

What does a typical day look like for you? Tell us about your experience so far.

My involvement in this fellowship is similar to having another course on my schedule. I attend Zoom meetings weekly where members of the Injury Prevention Center discuss their research, teach fellows about specific areas, present findings, and Pediatric Grand Rounds. I also attend Zoom team meetings where we share research and receive guidance from staff members. I also work independently on the main project, researching and reading, to complete my project.

What is the most surprising thing you have learned through your fellowship?

One of the most surprising things I have learned through my fellowship so far is the high amount of research being done in the Injury Prevention Center. Their work does not end with presenting the data and drawing conclusions. The center goes beyond the research and partakes in community outreach. This aspect of the IPC is something I believe most people do not know. Their amazing talent in conducting the research is also the reason for such an incredible amount of everyday safety precautions which undoubtedly improves all of our lives.

How are you putting what you have learned in the classroom to use in your fellowship?

The inspiration for my research topic came from two courses I am currently taking, “The Global Food System” and “Aging and Health”. These may sound very different but I found an intersection between them. I am in the process of learning about the issues of obesity globally and the common obstacles that the aging population faces. These two subjects are merged in my research: how being overweight, or obese, can impact the risk of falling in older populations. I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to talk to Dr. Nwakasi, who is well versed in the subject of aging, to gather more input on how to enhance my research and presentation to the highest degree possible. His guidance and expertise have been beyond amazing so far. I am utilizing not only what I am studying but also other skills such as public speaking, conducting literature reviews, and creating presentations that I have learned in my time at PC.

What are your future aspirations? How has your fellowship influenced them?

In the future I would like to work in a hospital or similar healthcare setting within research, administration, or human resources. I would also like to further my education and get my Masters in Public Health. One lesson that this fellowship has taught me so far is that your work should have meaning and that you should be able to take your job beyond the scope it is given and make an impact personally and in the extended community. When I think about where I will be in the future my hope is that wherever it is, I am making a positive impact in individual lives, the broader community, and even the world. I imagine myself having a role within the healthcare community, collaborating with other people as passionate as I am about improving the lives of others.

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