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My name’s Ashwin Kulshrestha, I’m a rising sophomore from Charlotte, North Carolina, and I’m currently leaning towards majoring in Biology and Sociology!

I’m working at CrescentCare this summer!  At first glance, CrescentCare seems to be a health clinic for underserved and often marginalized groups in the area, but what’s unique about the organization is that they also perform some important legal and public health work. It took me a while to understand the full extent of what CrescentCare really does, but I think it’s amazing work and I’m so excited to be interning there for the summer.

One such public health project which I’m really looking forward to assisting with is the rollout of a new program by the state of Louisiana to “stop” the Hepatitis C epidemic in the region. Under the new program, those enrolled in Medicaid will receive the cure (otherwise valued at tens of thousands of dollars) for essentially no cost. Esther and I were speaking with the Chief Medical Officer at CrescentCare on Wednesday and he told us that there was a patient in the room next to us crying because he had just told her that her Hepatitis C was cured. While my role in this project will be nothing more than assisting patients with completion of Medicaid paperwork, I think it’s amazing to be involved in such extraordinary work in any way possible.

This has been a recurring theme throughout my first week at CrescentCare. For the most part, my tasks at work have been small and seemingly insignificant. But Esther, Lauren, and I often repeat that the work we’re doing as interns gives the actual staff more time to work on helping patients. So even though mailing letters to clients, writing posts for Facebook, and organizing syringes might not be the most exhilarating work, hopefully it’s helping the staff in some way!

I was about six years old and living in India at the time of Katrina. My best recollection of the hurricane from the time was my dad telling me over the phone that it had rained a lot in America. This past weekend completely changed my understanding of the event; I had never understood the extent to which the city was damaged, nor the prolonged physical, social, and economic effects of the hurricane. Going to the Katrina museum and driving through the city during the first weekend was greatly appreciated because it gave me a better sense of what had happened and what to expect in the city even now, fourteen years after the hurricane hit.