Daniela Valle recently completed an internship in the OSU Extension office in Wasco County.

Since my last blog post, I have been steadily gaining confidence in my skills as an intern during a public health crisis. My first project was to learn about health communications. Communicating effectively with large groups of people is essential, especially when the information you share can save lives. I’ve learned how to make information clear, easy to access, and culturally appropriate. I made a PSA about COVID-19 that was shared in our community and shared with Extension partners statewide. Knowing that social media plays a significant role in health communications, I formatted these PSAs into Facebook and Instagram stories and posts. They’ve been provided to OSU Extension employees for their social media accounts.

COVID-19 PSA

 

One of the highlights of my days is seeing how the Extension mission is met in the Gorge. Extension is like a bridge that connects communities to abundant resources and knowledge to improve the lives of the youngest children and the oldest adults. I have been amazed to see how my community tackles such a critical health crisis with strong partnerships and cooperation. As I sit in on migrant and seasonal farmworker virtual task force meetings, my peers are a diverse group of health experts, business owners, faith leaders, and volunteers. Although we may all hold different job titles, our desire to serve this community is the same. At the beginning of this journey, I felt underqualified and intimidated by the daunting crisis. Since then, my colleagues have helped me become more comfortable sharing my perspective and engaging in different projects. 

 

Distributing PPE to local growers for their farm workers. PPE is crucial for keeping our farm workers healthy.
Distributing PPE to local growers for their farm workers. PPE is crucial for keeping our farm workers healthy.

My first in-person outreach as an intern was a success. In partnership with the local health departments, I distributed over 500 masks, bandanas, and hand sanitizer for migrant and seasonal farmworkers. That hour was extraordinarily hectic but equally gratifying. It’s true that if you choose a profession you are passionate about, the hard work becomes easy. I was happy to be able to provide these vulnerable populations with the supplies they need to stay safe during the upcoming harvest. As I near the end of my internship, I hope to continue gaining valuable experiences and reflecting on the many lessons I’ve learned so far.

Hood River Valley High School’s academic excellence portrait Class of 2019. My favorite subject has always been science.
Hood River Valley High School’s academic excellence portrait Class of 2019. My favorite subject has always been science.

My name is Daniela Valle, and I grew up in Hood River, Oregon as the child of migrant farmworkers. The valleys that made up my backyard are peppered with orchards of pear, peach and apple trees. As I grew older, I began to understand the important relationship between my family, the farmland, the community, and the economy. Migrant farmworkers are the backbone of the agricultural industry and in times like these, risk their lives to feed families across America. It seems unjust that such an integral population continues to experience health disparities. These inequalities inspired me to address social injustice by pursuing a career as a nurse. This past May, I completed my first year at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing. I’ve also chosen to pursue a global health minor and a Spanish Language Certificate to further explore my passions. Nursing perfectly combines my love of medicine and my desire to address health inequalities in rural settings.

After receiving my degree, I plan on returning to Oregon and delivering care to underserved populations. As a family medicine nurse practitioner, I will be able to help migrant families achieve better health and lead more prosperous lives. My goal is to not only to treat the physical needs of my patients but also to tackle the broader issues facing these vulnerable families like inadequate nutrition, educational attainment, and limited affordable housing. One day, I hope to write legislation that addresses these intersecting issues and advocates for change.

Visiting Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. during a Close Up High School Program in 2019. I hope to write health care policy one day.
Visiting Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. during a Close Up High School Program in 2019. I hope to write health care policy one day.

 

Oregon State University Extension Service has been a formative part of my life. During elementary school, I tried new foods at lunch thanks to the Food Hero program. In high school I attended a chemistry camp at OSU that sparked my interest in STEM, and in my senior year, I was vice president of my school’s Juntos club, an organization meant to empower first-generation families to seek higher education. The relationship between Extension and my community is a strong one, and one that I want to continue to grow.

This summer I’ll be an Extension public health intern in the Wasco County Extension Office, supporting its community health initiatives. During these unprecedented times, I’ll be partnering with other community-based organizations to address ongoing health issues prevalent in the Gorge. On any given day you’ll probably find me distributing PPE, assisting with health communications, or fervently taking notes. However, when I’m not in the “virtual” office, I’m most likely chasing the next waterfall, view, or swimming hole as I explore the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I’d like to thank Wasco County Extension for welcoming me to their team! Be sure to look out for updates on my journey with Extension this summer. Stay safe and healthy!

Enjoying the beautiful view at Burdoin Overlook in White Salmon Washington in May 2020. This hike had a spectacular view of Mt. Hood, the Columbia River, and grazing cows.
Enjoying the beautiful view at Burdoin Overlook in White Salmon Washington in May 2020. This hike had a spectacular view of Mount Hood, the Columbia River and grazing cows