Outbreak Investigations in LA County

Sunshine is doing exactly what SORT students are interested in for her practicum: outbreak investigations, practical experience and community engagement. This summer, she is working with the Acute Communicable Disease Control team at the County Department of Public Health. The main goal of the project is to perform a special and statistical analysis of the relation between food consumption and patterns of food borne diseases disproportionately affecting Latinos. She is also working on policy development and educational presentations on food borne illnesses and taking field trips to facilities like the Twin Towers, which is the largest jail in the world and assisting with outbreak investigations.


Her favorite activity so far was attending a town hall meeting in Antelope Valley where coccidiomycosis, a food borne illness has increased 530% in the last 10 years. She worked to reassure the community and answer questions about the illness.


One adventure that she took was visiting the Twin Towers jail:


“Going to visit the Twin Towers jail was incredibly interesting because the process to admit an inmate is lengthy and often dangerous, as 600 inmates are admitted per day in Los Angeles. We got to walk the halls with the inmates and see where they sleep, how they receive healthcare, and learn about special requirements for separation of fragile inmates from the general population.”


She is excited to bring back the knowledge she gained about public health at the county level, where public health really starts. 


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