Ways to Support Public Health in the Berkshires
Many students reach out to CLiA wanting to help address the public health needs of our community. There are many ways to help support public health right here in the Berkshires, from elder outreach to lactation support. See below for some of the ways to get involved. If you are interested in possibilities not listed here, don’t hesitate to reach out to Ash Bell at [email protected] for help.
Ongoing Volunteer and Internship Opportunities:
Williamstown Commons is a local nursing, rehabilitation, and long term care facility located on Adams Rd. in Williamstown. Volunteer opportunities with Williamstown Commons range from helping plan and run activities and playing games with groups of residents to sitting outside with a resident providing one on one companionship.
Volunteers are required to fill out an application which is available at the front desk of Williamstown Commons, provide proof of a TB test, submit a CORI check form, and go through a short orientation. If you have more questions, please contact the activities director, Karla, at 413-458-2111.
Berkshire Health Systems is the major hospital system and healthcare provider in the Berkshires. They have a wide variety of volunteer opportunities in many departments including: the emergency department, endoscopy, ambulatory surgery, store room, patient liaisons, and many more.
Many of the required forms and further information is available via the Berkshire Health Systems Volunteer Information folder which should be reviewed before reaching out to Darlene Baisley at [email protected] to express interest in applying.
HospiceCare provides hospice end of life care and support for families experiencing end of life transitions of family members. They seek volunteers to provide visits, a listening ear, administrative help and special event support.
More information can be found in the HospiceCare Volunteer Information folder which should be reviewed before reaching out to Lori Johnson at [email protected] to express interest in applying.
Berkshire Nursing Families provides one on one contact and support for every step of the newborn feeding process from prenatal to breast/chest feeding support.
To see examples of what work their interns have done in the past please visit the link above. If you are interested in interning with BNF contact Rosalie Girard at [email protected].
Public Health Opportunities via Winter Study Coursework
SPEC 19: Exploring Healthcare
Experience in a clinical environment is essential to exploring the health professions. Through this experiential learning course, students will clarify their understanding of the rewards and challenges of medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, allied health professions, or public health. Students will participate in a shadowing internship through an independent placement in their location of choice. Students will observe clinical interactions and learn about healthcare delivery systems. Students will be introduced to key concepts related to patient interviewing and history taking, diagnosis, and medical decision-making. Students will also be introduced to core concepts of population health and expand their perspectives on the individual clinical interactions that they observe. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their healthcare experiences with a dual focus: from the perspective of the individual provider-patient relationship and within a systems-level context. Weekly didactic sessions will focus on the experiences and/or area of expertise of healthcare professionals in the Berkshires and/or nationally. These sessions will now be offered virtually so that on-site and off-site students can attend as well as to facilitate a broad range of speakers. By the end of the course, students will demonstrate an understanding of the fundamentals of patient-provider interactions and key factors affecting the health of individuals and communities. A final reflective paper is required.
SPEC 30: Emergency Medical Technician Training
This course will prepare students for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) certification, a first step towards applying for state licensure. Upon successful completion of this course and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Psychomotor (Practical) Examination students are eligible to sit for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) computer-based cognitive exam. The cost of the NREMT certification course is $1400.
PSCI 21: Fieldwork in Public Affairs and Private Non-Profits
This course is a participant-observation experience in which students work full-time for a governmental or nongovernmental (including voluntary, activist, and grassroots) organization or for a political campaign. Public Health options Examples include: town government offices; state or federal administrative offices (e.g., environmental agencies, housing authorities); interest groups that lobby government (e.g., ACLU, NRA); nonprofit organizations such as service providers or think tanks (e.g., Habitat for Humanity, Cato Institute); and grassroots, activist or community development organizations (e.g., Greenpeace or neighborhood associations). The instructors and members of the Political Science Department are available to help students find placements, if necessary, but such arrangements must be made in advance of the Winter Term. Students should first make their own contracts with an institution or agency. Each student’s fieldwork mentor shall send a confirmation letter to the instructor verifying the placement and describing the nature of the work to be performed. During the session, students are responsible for keeping a journal of their experiences and observations. Additionally, students write final papers summarizing and reflecting upon the experience in light of assigned readings. A group meeting of all students will occur before winter study to prepare and after to discuss the experience. Every year, course instructors arrange for some distinct sections of this course to provide specialized fieldwork opportunities in the area for small groups of students.
PSYC 21: Psychology Internships
Would you like to explore applications of psychology in the “real world?” This course gives students an opportunity to work full-time during Winter Study in a mental health, business, education, law, or another setting in which psychological theories and methods are applied to solve problems. Students are responsible for locating their own potential internships whether in the local area, their hometowns, or elsewhere, and are welcome to contact the course instructor for suggestions on how to do this. In any case, all students considering this course must consult with the instructor about the suitability of the internship being considered before the Winter Study registration period. Please prepare a brief description of the proposed placement, noting its relevance to psychology, and the name and contact information of the agency supervisor. Before Thanksgiving break, the student will provide a letter from the agency supervisor which describes the agency, and the student’s role and responsibilities during Winter Study. Enrolled students will meet the instructor before Winter Study to discuss matters relating to ethics and their goals for the course, and after Winter Study to discuss their experiences and reflections.