Intern Spotlight: Andi Kezh

Photo courtesy of Andi Kezh

More than 25 interns work at the Task Force each year, with projects ranging from expanding access to Hepatitis B testing and treatment to data modernization to research protocol design and other public health issues. Andi Kezh of Atlanta recently completed a two-year internship for the central communications and development team. Even if you haven’t worked with her directly, you might recognize her name as a prolific contributor to this newsletter and to Task Force’s social media channels and website. Kezh graduated in May from Oglethorpe University with a degree in Communications, Media Studies, where her undergraduate honors thesis investigated the sociocultural beliefs related to cleft lip and palate, and how understanding those beliefs can affect health outcomes, including social stigma and treatment. 

To mark the end of her time with us, we asked about her internship and her advice for current and future interns.

How did you get your internship at Task Force?

I’ve lived in Decatur, Georgia my whole life and the Task Force is based here. I was just looking up global health internships and found it. I applied and didn’t really expect a reply. I’d interned at Smile Train and I liked that Task Force was a step up because it went beyond just one issue. It works on health, vaccines, strengthening health systems and more.

Were you interested in pursuing a career in health communications?

I was interested in health policy, but I didn’t realize that you could have a career in health communications until I was working at The Task Force. My work at The Task Force allowed me to see more clearly how health and communications are connected. As part of my job I wrote press releases, articles for the newsletter and social media posts and helped draft communications plans. I got to write content from a global health perspective. This fall I will be pursuing my masters in health communication at City University of New York.

How did your honors thesis inform your internship and vice versa?

One of the big takeaways from my thesis is that patients are able to understand biomedical science while still holding on to mythological beliefs. Western medicine can often categorize such beliefs very negatively and therefore try to ignore them. Medical professionals, clinicians and public health workers need to understand that you can’t ignore or dismiss cultural attitudes in their practice. Doing so has dangerous implications for health outcomes.

My thesis and the internship helped me understand the idea of medical pluralism, a concept in medical anthropology defining the spectrum of beliefs that can co-exist when addressing health. It’s important for clinicians and scientists to have cultural competency and understanding of varying belief systems. The lesson is don’t patronize communities and patients. 

What’s your advice to someone who’s considering internships at Task Force?

First, do your research. There might be career paths you don’t even know about yet. Second, use as many opportunities as you have at your internship. Have as many one-on-ones as you can. Keep your camera on if you’re remote. Third, don’t pigeonhole yourself by only talking to people in your department. I’m proud to have made that effort. It can be hard to do when you’re young, feel out of place, and maybe have imposter syndrome. But the whole point is to find opportunities and to learn. 

As a communicator, what’s your advice to the global health and public health fields?

I hope The Task Force and other health focused organizations continue to prioritize communicators. Communications, newsletters and fundraising are so important for organizational development in so many aspects. I think that sometimes global health organizations focus on technical aspects of the work, which are of course necessary, but this tends to overshadow the integral role of  communications to effectively disseminate their impact and message. You have to be able to get messages to the public and not just to people who work in your field. You have to humanize topics and tell stories. If you don’t have a story, no one is going to pay attention.

In May Andi was interviewed by Atlanta public radio station WABE about her research on cleft lips and palate. Listen here:

Interested in an internship at Task Force?

Task Force is looking for exceptional students interested in having meaningful education experiences in global health. We offer paid and unpaid internships, as well as paid fellowships, for currently enrolled students in high school, undergraduate, and graduate programs. Depending on the school, students may also receive academic credit.

To learn more or apply for an internship, visit

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