My Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) Black Internship Programme experience: Etienne Deans-Louis
1 September 2021 | Author: Etienne Eugene Deans-Louis, Intern at Cystic Fibrosis Trust
Etienne Deans-Louis reflects on his experience as an intern within the Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) Black Internship Programme, with a placement at Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
How did I find out about the ‘10,000 black Interns’ programme?
I found out about the internship from a family friend who lives in Jamaica.
How did I find the experience of Interning at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust?
I had an amazing experience. The team/people I worked and/or spoke with were very welcoming and offered me lots of advice and support. With the help of my mentor, Andrew Lee, I further developed my understanding of statistics and developed many new skills. Additionally, I increased my knowledge about what cystic fibrosis is, how it affects the human body, the outcomes of this bodily dysfunction and how we can help patients with this condition to live life to their full potential.
I have been working with the Data Quality Improvement (DQI) Team. This is what I have been doing.
I was assigned the role of registry support/assistant medical statistician. I was required to analyse and interpret health research and data, as well as produce and present graphs and tables.
What was it like working on the UK CF Registry Annual Report?
The UK Cystic Fibrosis Registry is a secure centralised database, sponsored and managed by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. It records health data on consenting people with cystic fibrosis (CF) in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Registry results are published each year in the annual report.
It was a very challenging but also an exciting assignment. I was tasked with analysing COVID-19 infection rates among people diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, as well as analysing the numerous outcomes for people with cystic fibrosis because of contracting the virus. I very much enjoyed analysing the COVID-19 data – bearing in mind that this type of data analysis was new to me. I even presented my work to an NHS steering committee; this was a fantastic opportunity/experience.
What did I learn about cystic fibrosis as part of my time here?
I learned that cystic fibrosis is not a health condition that affects only the respiratory system but the entire body, and that this has a significant impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of people with this condition. However, I also discovered that there are lifesaving drugs being manufactured that can improve the quality of people’s lives who are living with this condition by modulating proteins within cells.
Would I recommend that others take part in the programme?
Without a doubt – 100%. The programme is a life changing experiencing.
What are my work aspirations now going forward?
I hope to undertake a masters degree in epidemiology/public health. This decision is based on my time at the trust and the work undertaken. I found data analysis work interesting and intriguing. I enjoyed every moment of my internship and would like to increase my skills and knowledge as a potential medical statistician, as well as improve public health through data analysis.
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