Virtual Internships Abroad My Work at the Shifo Foundation

September 20, 2021
By Michele Anzabi, CAS '22

Shifo Foundation - Sweden

Hello! My name is Michele Anzabi, and I am a rising senior in the College studying Health & Societies with a concentration in Bioethics & Society and a minor in Hispanic Studies. Most of my extracurricular activities focus on public health, and I am interested in pursuing a career in medicine. When discussing how I wanted an internship experience that aligns with my interests and future goals, I was matched with the Shifo Foundation. This is a Sweden-based healthcare NGO that strives for a world in which no child suffers or dies from preventable diseases. Through their partnerships with health ministries around the world, Shifo utilizes their Smart Paper Technology and MyChild system to build capacity within parents, improve efficiency in work procedures for health workers, and provide reliable information for decision-makers.

As an intern, my primary goal is to research how technology impacts the mental, physical, and social well-being of children. Upon starting my internship, I was provided with a document of preliminary research that will soon become an educational module for patients and their families. An exciting element of my internship is the independence that I have in shaping the outcome of this module. I immediately began to revise the document in terms of content and formatting. For example, while the document focuses on addiction being a potential harm of technology, I can expand on this content to provide a more comprehensive understanding of risks to financial security, mental health, and physical safety. With formatting, I make various adjustments from restructuring chapters to eliminating redundant concepts. Afterward, I work together with my supervisor to incorporate feedback and make suggestions to our graphic design team. Ultimately, we aim to make this information accessible to patients and their families.

I find this work to be very rewarding. During my classes at Penn, I have examined the role of technology throughout history, ways to improve mental health care, and various public health interventions. Therefore, I appreciate being able to further my knowledge within these sectors by studying technology addiction and prevention. Through this work, I enjoy the opportunity to strengthen my skills in critical analysis, creativity, and research. Most importantly, I am grateful to know the potential impact of my involvement in this research. The Shifo Foundation currently has partnerships in five countries around the world. Therefore, whenever parents arrive at affiliated clinics with a question on technology usage, health workers can refer them to my educational module. Ultimately, this information helps build capacity within parents in navigating how to use technology for both their children and themselves.

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The Virtual Internships Abroad (VIA) program provides self-directed and motivated Penn undergraduate students the opportunity to gain a fully funded professional work experience over the summer with a global employer, with the added convenience of working remotely.