Written by Jeff Schneider, Intern with Public Affairs in Florida
Working as an intern in the Public Affairs department at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., I expected to learn about health care. Little did I realize I’d be learning so much about my own health and how to improve it.
In the past two weeks, I not only passed out flyers, worked events and assisted the staff – all things I expected – but I also helped with press releases and media advisories on topics ranging from hurricane preparedness to cancer and heart health.
For me, heart health really hits home since my maternal grandfather suffered from heart disease and passed away from a heart attack before I was born. He was a journalist so I believe his love for writing was definitely passed on to me, but I also began to wonder if I had the propensity for heart disease, too. As part of my internship assignments, I have been helping to promote the American Heart Association’s local Heart Walk, of which Mayo Clinic is a sponsor.
One of my assignments was to prepare materials for an interactive media event with WJXT Channel 4 and two Mayo cardiologists. I researched heart health info and found some great resources on Mayo’s web site, including a series of YouTube videos on signs and symptoms of a heart attack, reducing your risk for stroke, heart healthy recipes and more.
I also got to sit in for an interview with Dr. Issam Moussa, chair of the division of cardiovascular services in Florida, where I learned just how big of a role family history plays in one’s heart health. Certainly, some of my grandfather’s genes were likely passed down to me, but with awareness and prevention, I can reduce my risk of devastating heart issues.
I also learned that staying active is important in reducing one’s risk for heart disease. To that end, I’ve signed up to participate in the First Coast Heart Walk on Saturday, Sept. 22. My hope is that with each step I take, I am helping build awareness for heart disease and celebrating those who have made significant strides against the number one killer in the United States. Of course, as I step out with my fellow colleagues and members of the community, I’ll surely be thinking of my grandpa every step of the way.
- Jeff Schneider, Intern (Summer 2012) with Public Affairs in Florida