UCLA School of Public Health Field Studies Program


Community Health Sciences

Field Placement: Institute of Social Security, Epidemiology and Health Services Research Unit
Location:
Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
Preceptor:
Dr. Yvonne Flores
Student Name: Jaimie Morse
Year: 2005

I completed my internship at the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) in the Epidemiology and Health Services Research Unit in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, from June-September 2005. IMSS is the health services and health policy research arm of the federal Department of Social Services. IMSS is also the main social security institution in Mexico providing health insurance coverage to approximately 50-60% of the population. All people who are, or have been, employed in the formal sector of the economy (as well as their spouses and dependants) are eligible for IMSS services. Health services are provided free-of-charge to all individuals insured by IMSS.

My supervisor was Dr. Yvonne Flores, a Principal Investigator in the unit. I participated in analysis of results of an IMSS human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer cohort study to assess risk factors for persistent HPV infection and developing cervical cancer, with particular attention to risks associated with choice of contraceptive and use of barrier methods, such as condoms. The results were intended to inform cervical cancer screening protocols based on HPV testing at IMSS in the state of Morelos as well as to revise IMSS family planning guidelines to include information about the association between choice of contraceptive and risk of infection with HPV.

To ground my research in health services delivery, I conducted clinic visits for two weeks and met with key individuals involved in designing adolescent reproductive health care services to determine what types of services and patient education were being offered by IMSS. I applied my knowledge of disease etiology and barriers to seeking services for sexually transmitted infections such as HPV when observing clinics and meeting with IMSS staff.

 

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