Coordinator of the Month: Camille McGirt
Name: Camille McGirt
Hometown: Durham, NC
College Attended / Major: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill / Public Health, Health Policy and Management
HealthCorps School Placement: The Academy for Conservation and the Environment (South Shore High School), Brooklyn, NY
Fun Fact: I am 6’4 and I love being tall!
Jeffrey Hartinger: How did you become involved with HealthCorps?
Camille McGirt: HealthCorps provides a meaningful public service role that has aided in my ability to think critically about health behavior, program design and resource allocation within underserved communities. In 2010 after an ACL tear and shoulder injury that ended my basketball career I (Camille McGirt) found myself looking to find a new identity outside of sports. I was able to take a year off from college and I landed an internship at the White House in the Office of Presidential Personnel. While at the White House I volunteered with Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign and I was captivated by the First Lady’s passion and capacity to address the childhood obesity epidemic. I wanted to make the “Let’s Move” message tangible within local communities and help pass along the healthy lifestyle movement to youth in my hometown. I was able to do this by starting a non-profit that currently exists in North Carolina, Healthy Girls Save the World. I was also able to become a Coordinator with HealthCorps and extend my work on an even larger scale. HealthCorps has a huge platform and the ability to target people in urban/underserved communities. Through service as a Coordinator, I’ve been able to integrate my love for public service, public health, and non-profit development.
JH: What has been the highlight of your placement so far?
CM: Working on the “Promoting Effective Implementation of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines in Urban Schools” NIH-NIDDK research grant is a huge highlight of my HealthCorps experience! As a Coordinator, this is a really unique opportunity! I’ve learned a great deal about health behavior change, social cognitive theory (SMART Goals), program evaluation (RE-AIM), and research implementation. Working on this grant provides detailed metrics on my students’ health practices through a “Healthy-Me Aggregate Report.” As the Champion of my School Wellness Council, I am able to use this information to brainstorm and design useful/needed health-related projects and identify resources to execute. During this school year alone, my School Wellness Council has secured a small grant to fund a Brita Hydration Station that will provide access to fresh water to 250 students and 30 staff members on a daily basis!
JH: Outside of the classroom, what are some of the activities that you are involved with?
CM: Serving as a HealthCorps Coordinator in NYC is a wonderful opportunity because it is where our headquarters exists! I work closely with our events production team for our Annual Garden Gala and Highway to Health Festival and I even got a chance to host NBA All-Star and Hall of Famer, Robert Parrish, during an in-school health fair. As a Coordinator I run many programs outside of the classroom which include Teen Battle Chef, the Biggest Loser Challenge, an in-school health fair, Y-LAR, HealthCorps Champion Club, Chefs for Change, and I also help to coach JV Women’s basketball at South Shore. My strong suit is definitely sports and fitness and I’m really excited about HealthCorps’ partnership with the NBA!
JH: What do you plan to pursue after your service to HealthCorps is complete?
CM: I am currently applying to MPP and MPH programs, jobs, and fellowships—I like to keep my options open! If offered the opportunity, I’d really like to go back to school and learn more about social behavioral health and public policy. My school’s community is poorly resourced and many of the problems that it faces can be resolved through swift policy changes that affect education, employment, and economic stimulation. I would like for my students to have the same opportunities as all New York City students and I want to learn about large-scale solutions for suffering communities. I’d also like to obtain an MBA as I have a keen interest in non-profit management, corporate social responsibility and entrepreneurship.
JH: What is one thing you have learned from your placement that you will be able to carry with you as you move forward in life?
CM: HealthCorps is a great place to be right now. We’re building sustainability, establishing programs in new schools, developing our student programs, and building a high-impact non-profit. I’ve learned SO MUCH about leadership, project management, working with teams, data-analysis/evaluation, research implementation, health behavior change, and resource identification. All of these skills will add to my impact as I move forward with graduate school or employment.
We want to thank Camille McGirt for her exceptional work and congratulate her for being this month’s coordinator of the month.