Yiping Xing | 2014 | Interns

Yiping Xing (’15)

Columbus, OH

Dana Mead Intern

Biology Major

US Department of Health and Human Services - Office of the Surgeon General

This past summer I received the amazing opportunity to work at the Office of the United States Surgeon General (OSG), within the US Department of Health and Human Services. The mission of the OSG is to provide Americans with the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and reduce their risk of illness and injury. In addition, OSG and the Surgeon General are responsible for the oversight of the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps, one of the United States’ seven uniformed services with approximately 7,000 officers. USPHS officers work in over 26 federal agencies and 800 stations worldwide, always at the front line in protecting the nation’s health and responding to public health emergencies.

During my stay at OSG, I helped with a plethora of various projects the office was engaged in. This ranged in everything from drafting a proposal to help the office evaluate the impact of public health activities of the USPHS (in context of the National Prevention Strategy) to creating a new award recognition regime for use with the Surgeon General. Additionally, I prepared a brief about OSG, for use with the new Secretary of Health and Human Service, analyzed/visualized data regarding USPHS activities during the 2013 Government Shutdown, and coded computer programs to streamline various administrative tasks for the office. However, by far, my most meaningful takeaway from this summer was the mentorship I received from everyone in the office. I got the chance to travel with Rear Admiral Lushniak, Acting Surgeon General, to many of his local speaking engagements and meetings (at PAHO, Washington Post, Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer, Let’s Read Campaign with the Secretary of Education, annual executive meeting for the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, Healthy Eye Summit, and a few meetings within the Dept. of HHS, among others). Through this, I learned about a plethora of public health topics and exciting cross-sector government and private health initiatives. My mentors also shared with me their wisdom and advice regarding public sector health careers, the practical realities of forming health policy, and life in general.

As someone who wants to eventually serve in the public sector at the interface of medicine, public health, and policy, my experiences this summer have been truly invaluable to me. I have always admired the work and mission of the Office of the Surgeon General, and I am so grateful that the Washington DC Program helped give me this opportunity. Outside of work, Washington DC is a wonderful place to spend the summer—especially if you are a museum or ethnic food junkie like I am!