“Empathy and compassion play an integral role in service to others, as they combat the forces of affliction and suffering.  The West Africa AIDS Foundation and International Health Care Center Staff embody an empathy-first mindset, and do an incredible job at removing barriers and creating paths toward access to quality and affordable healthcare.

In 2018, I was given the wonderful opportunity to be an intern for the West Africa AIDS Foundation while concurrently studying abroad at the University of Ghana for a semester.  My area of focus for my collegiate studies was Public Health and Global Health, so I was looking for opportunities to not only pursue this education inside of the classroom, but outside of school as well.  Not only did the West Africa AIDS Foundation internship supplement my studies, the experience enhanced my desire to further pursue a career that is of service to the most vulnerable populations.

The West Africa AIDS Foundation was extremely welcoming from the start of my internship, and brought me in to work in collaboration on projects such as the USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum data collection, local outreach and education in Haatso, research on loss-to-follow-ups (LTFU), and event planning for the 20 th year celebration of the International Health Care Center.  Interning was an all-encompassing, and truly enriching experience.  I can attribute much of my growth as a public health worker, student, and most importantly, a person, to my time with the West Africa AIDS Foundation.

I gained a lot of wisdom from the staff, as they set high standards and pursue meaningful goals in the work they do.  While most of the staff and I came from very different backgrounds, our work was grounded in our like-minded intentions to be of service to others.  I feel now as if I have so many leaders to look up to from the organization, no matter how far in apart in the world we may be. 

I look forward to returning to visit, to continue sharing the mutual motivation rooted in service, and to continue learning from the staff, who are on the frontlines of such important work in Ghana and beyond.”

All the best,

Jayson Hefner