UCLA School of Public Health Field Studies Program

Community Health Sciences

Field Placement: Ventura County Public Health, Specialty Clinic
Oxnard, CA
Kurt Cook, MD, MSc
Student Name: Kimberly Peeren
Year: 2005

The mission of the Specialty Clinic in Ventura County is to control, prevent and treat tuberculosis (TB). Surveillance, health education and outreach are critical components of tuberculosis control. TB prevention relies on the timely identification of disease as well as outreach to individuals and communities—especially those at risk for contracting and developing tuberculosis. Patient adherence is an additional factor to consider, as treatment for tuberculosis disease spans over several months and often requires directly observed therapy. Because of these multiple factors, and in order to ensure quality and efficiency, it is crucial to evaluate the delivery of services to patients.

From July 11th to September 16th 2005, I worked with Dr. Kurt Cook, the county’s Deputy Health Officer and TB physician, on several evaluation projects. The goal was to identify appropriate ways of providing services at the Specialty Clinic. My projects involved investigating the resources, history, needs, and socioeconomic indicators of specific populations in the county. To accomplish this, I conducted informant interviews, literature reviews and internet searches. Moreover, I participated in community events, observed staff and patients at the clinic, and attended meetings. Finally, I compiled a list of structural barriers, community needs, and related recommendations. The latter were organized into a resource manual I created for the clinic—a reference guide identifying key tuberculosis organizations, useful websites, contact people, staff training tools, as well as culturally appropriate educational materials.

This internship was a great learning experience, which will hopefully inform my future international experiences. With the guidance of my preceptor, I learned a great deal about tuberculosis, its etiology, socioeconomic nature, and disparities.


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