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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

UIC: Alumna Earns Volunteer Award for TBI Research Program

Ms. Nytzia Licona, Doctor of Public Health Leadership student at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health, works for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center at the Veterans Health Administration (VA) Palo Alto Health Care System. Conducting Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) research as the Clinical Research Program Coordinator & Site Lead, she needed assistance for basic research duties, but lacked funds to hire additional staff. She approached the VA Volunteer & Hospital Services office about bringing on volunteer psychology graduate students to help with a longitudinal TBI Study for veterans and active duty service members.

In response, she created the Summer Volunteer Research Intern Program. This program was established in summer 2017 at the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) Palo Alto site and the Polytrauma System of Care with the support of the Volunteer & Hospital Services. The goal of the program is to provide research experience to students from various disciplines: medical school students, pre-med, psychology, public health, doctoral candidates, and high school students. Ms. Licona’s efforts earned her the VA’s Volunteer Supervisor Award.

“I’m putting into practice what I have learned so far in the DrPH program: adaptive leadership, action learning, strategic planning, and personal leadership. All of this is helping me to manage this program right now,” Ms. Licona said.

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