|All interns make presentations on their findings and recommendations to the Tata Corporate Sustainability management team in India following the conslusion of their project.|
2018 was the first time King's has participated in this scheme, so we only have limited case studies, but there are plenty of reports from other students from LSE, Cambridge, MIT & UC, Berkeley. Visit the Tata website to read about the experiences of previous Tata Social Interns.
Robert Smith - King's Tata Social Intern 2018
Over the course of 9 weeks myself and fellow GHSM student, Mohini Samani, had the opportunity to work at Tata Medical Center, a specialized cancer center in Kolkata, India. During this internship, we performed a cost analysis of acute myeloid leukemia. The aim of this project was to better understand the direct and indirect costs to patients in accessing cancer care. By understanding these costs, our findings now allow physicians to more accurately inform patients of the cost of treatment, inform insurance providers on the cost of treatments and help hospital administration better allocate treatment subsidies. This experience gave us valuable skills that we were not able to gain in our degree including clinical understandings of disease, quantitative skills in financial analysis and an understanding of working within hospital environments.
Working at a cancer center in India was a valuable contribution towards our degree in Global Health and Social Medicine. India is undergoing a demographic transition resulting in a double burden of infectious and chronic diseases. Within this context, it is challenging for governments and private care providers to accommodate new, yet increasingly prevalent, disease burdens such as cancer. Working within this context allowed us to gain an understanding of how actors are responding to these types of emerging global health concerns. This also gave us an understanding of the challenges that governments face when responding to this burden. Specifically, with a population of over 1.3 billion people, India struggles with a rural-urban divide in health care resources, resulting in poor cancer prevention and integration of cancer diagnostic services at a primary care level. Most cancer treatment and diagnosis is available in urban areas and or in tertiary centers. Within this type of health care infrastructure, it creates a large amount of late diagnosis and poor care outcomes. Ultimately, working in this context provided a unique space to build upon the existing knowledge learned within GHSM and to see how our understandings can be applied in the real world.
As well as enhancing our degree experience, the internship also served as a valuable opportunity to travel and learn more about India. During the internship, we had the opportunity to take a boat tour in the ‘Sunderbans,’ one of the last remaining locations with Bengal Tigers, we visited the infamous Darjeeling Tea fields in the North East of West Bengal, travelled to Chennai and even a weekend in Singapore.
For students looking to gain real world experience working in health care development contexts this will serve as an extremely valuable opportunity. Not only will it broaden your perspective on global health in practice, but the work experience, regardless of the Social Internship selected, will allow you to build a wider skillset which can be utilized moving forward in your career making you more marketable as a job candidate. Further, for those undergoing dissertations, this can be a valuable opportunity to perform dissertation research in topics relevant to the selected internships or other health issues in India.