Interview with NHPHA Intern Ashley Haluch and Dr. Laura Cristoph

by Andrea Guzman, Workforce Development Coordinator

Ashley Haluch is a recipient of a Health Equity student intern stipend from the New England Public Health Training Center available through the New Hampshire Public Health Association. She is working with the Rindge Food Pantry in Rindge, NH. Ashley is a public health major at Franklin Pierce University whose goals for her future work in public health include an interest in food safety, epidemiology, foodborne illness, and health education. She is also interested in pursuing a sanitarian licensure from the local health department. She presented a poster at the NHPHA’s 2019 annual meeting, a meta-analysis comparing the United States and China on how food safety is addressed and acknowledged, different approaches to the process of food handling, and the economic impact of food handling in both countries.

Ashley’s preceptor, Dr. Laura Cristoph, is the Director of the Public Health Program at Franklin Pierce University. She described serving those who are food-insecure in the greater Rindge community as the major goal of the Rindge Food Pantry program. She expressed the value in having an intern focus their attention on the food pantry.

When asked about her goals for the project, Ashley brought up an intention to minimize food waste by creating an organizational system. She explains that because the food pantry is understaffed, it is difficult to establish consistency in organization, and so food often gets thrown away, which is counterproductive to the goal of the program. She hopes that her system can result in less food waste. Her additional goals have a health education aspect. Ashley illustrates an enthusiasm for promoting proper food safety, food handling, and safe cooking practices. Ashley’s objective is to engage the community and learn how these topics affect them; she stated that her favorite part of the project so far has been creating educational content about these practices, as well as meeting clients and making connections with them. Ashley expressed that she has gained so much from the project by seeing how connection, relationships, and health education can make a difference in people’s lives.

“I’m getting a sense of what it feels like to work with a community, and people in the community. That’s something I feel that public health is all about, working with the public and building these relationships,” she said.

Dr. Cristoph and Ashley told us that they were very grateful for the partnership with NHPHA, stating, “...it’s really fantastic when they [students] get to be guided by other people, both in the community and through the New Hampshire Public Health Association, so thank you so much for the work you do and for the opportunity to give to our students in New Hampshire.”

They both hope that Ashley’s work can help guide other students who may have an interest in interning for the Rindge Food Pantry and NHPHA.

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