Giving to Brown

Connecting Families to Healthier Living

Carlos Aramayo ’14 spent last summer filling prescriptions, but he wasn’t standing behind a pharmacy counter wearing a white lab coat. Rather, he sat behind a desk, connecting individuals to resources. Specifically, Carlos aided low-income families in finding necessities outside of their reach as part of his internship with Health Leads Providence. It was a summer he won’t soon forget.

“I had the pleasure of meeting some truly inspiring and talented people who understand the importance of a holistic approach to healthcare,” Carlos says.

Through a Beller-Moses Award, Carlos was able to accept the unpaid post without having to fret over summer finances. The award—one of several Brown LINK (Linking Internships and Knowledge) awards—provides support to undergraduates pursuing short-term, unpaid work. That’s good news for both students and organizations like Health Leads, who won’t have to worry about losing bright interns to less career-oriented—but paidsummer jobs.

Health Leads is a national nonprofit that works with physicians to identify families lacking the basic resources necessary for healthy living. A doctor might see a family requiring medical attention, but also in need of heat, food and steady employment. The doctor can then connect the family with a Health Leads Fellow like Carlos, who performs an intake in order to determine what additional “prescriptions” need fulfillment.

“The work was challenging but rewarding,” Carlos says. “Some client stories really drew me in and motivated me to help them find the resources they needed.”

Between June and August, Carlos worked with more than 20 families. Though based at a desk within a clinic housed in the Hasbro Children’s Hospital, he walked through exam rooms, talking to potential clients, and attended weekly dinners where guest speakers delivered presentations on areas intersecting with the overall mission of Health Leads.

Brown President Christina H. Paxson wants every student coming through the University to have opportunities like Carlos’s. Through the BrownConnect initiative, she plans to increase both internship funding and availability for all of Brown’s undergraduate population.

It’s crucial for students to gain the invaluable real-world insight internships provide—not only to get a leg up on the competition, but also to better grasp their chosen disciplines, which is something Carlos can attest to: “This experience was the first big step for me toward a career in the health professions. It helped shape my outlook on healthcare and reaffirmed my decision to work in the field.”