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Hi everyone! My name is Caroline Frisch (she/her), and I am a senior from Asheville, NC pursuing a degree in psychology and a minor in health and society. I am particularly interested in working to improve maternal and infant health by improving access and quality of care for mothers during the perinatal period. I am grateful for my time at UNC-Chapel Hill and the amazing experiences that I have had to develop my interests. 

During my time at UNC-Chapel Hill, I have been able to participate in undergraduate research working in the Brain and Early Experience (BEE) Lab with Dr. Cathi Propper studying how a child’s context and experiences from pregnancy through early childhood predicts their cognitive development, behavior, and health. I also conducted an independent research project with Dr. Paschal Sheeran in his lab to create a standardized measure to determine the effectiveness of colorectal cancer screening interventions. My work in these labs has exposed me to valuable research skills allowing me to both pursue my own research interests and contribute to the mission of the lab. I have also had the opportunity to take classes though the Gillings School of Public Health, which has uncovered passion for using research for direct application to clinical practice. Outside of UNC-Chapel Hill, I have been interning at RTI International where I am collaborating on a team to code mother-patient interactions between mothers and children with rare neurogenetic syndromes. This position has expanded my understanding of research analysis and stressed the importance of conducting research to improve interventions and care practices. The opportunity to participate in the Gil Internship this year has allowed me to combine my past experiences and further explore my passion using evidence-based research to improve and directly impact maternal care.  

Through the Gil Internship, I have been interning at NC Maternal Mental Health MATTERS with Karen Burns, NC MATTERS program director. In my position, I am working to update a public-facing care package with resources for mothers, finalizing a toolkit for providers on suicide during the perinatal period, and contributing to a monthly newsletter by writing a section on ADHD during pregnancy and the post-partum period. I have also started to research and discuss potential designs for a patient advisory council that would create a space for women with lived experience to share their thoughts on the program. Working at NC MATTERS has been an amazing opportunity to expand my understanding of perinatal anxiety and mood disorders and sit in on conversations and team meetings with care providers from all around North Carolina.  

I am thankful for the opportunity to be Gil intern this semester. It has been an incredible experience to both expand my interests in maternal health and improve my professional skills. I want to especially thank Karen Burns, Dr. Steve Buzinski, and Emily Dolegowski for their role in giving me this unique opportunity. I am so excited to remain at NC MATTERS for the rest of the semester and continue to gain valuable experience in the internship position.  

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