Valerie Benedict, Class of 2018, completed her most recent co-op at NorthShore University HealthSystems, in Evanston, IL last Fall. She worked in a hospital where she was stationed in the cardiology department. During her time at NorthShore, Valerie says she primarily worked in data entry, and she also shadowed surgeons in various surgeries, which she says was her favorite part of the co-op.
She also had the opportunity to participate in the development of a research project on childhood consumption of high-sugar drinks, and its effects on children’s health at large. This manifested in educational programs in Evanston and Chicago area schools, and her team visited students to present “sugar shows,” as Valerie called them. In these presentations, the researchers would demonstrate the sugar content of various drinks to students. The goal was to empower students to reduce their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, which contribute to various health problems such as obesity and cardiac disease. Ultimately, over the year during which the presentations and studies were conducted, Valerie’s team found positive effects in the schools they visited, although she says that schools in lower socioeconomic districts were less likely to have the positive results seen in the high-income area schools. The research team also compiled a paper on the findings of the study.
Since Valerie’s co-op in the Fall of 2016, the article has gone through an extensive process of peer-review. Now, the article has been approved for publication in a formal academic journal later this year, and Valerie is a credited co-author! Congratulations Valerie, on this outstanding accomplishment!
Text quoted from an interview with Valerie Benedict ’18 on May 18, 2017.