Internship Series: BU Global Health Labs

Dante Cilento

SAR’19 | Health Science

Research Assistant

CCD: Tell us about your work experience. What were your responsibilities?

DC: Designing a research project and carrying out the research to contribute to its completion. I did a literature review and evidence synthesis of alternative healthcare taxes as a way of financing healthcare and achieving universal health coverage in low and middle income countries. The research consisted of going through several databases and gathering as much pertinent literature on the subject. The synthesis aspect was to compile findings of past researchers. The evidence synthesis component consisted of gathering quantitative data on various countries with alternative healthcare taxes and then relating them to a variety of evaluative healthcare outcome metrics.

CCD: How did you get the position? What resources at BU or elsewhere did you use?

DC: I worked with my mentor Lawrence Were before and had taken a course with him. I did a semester long project in his class and I fell in love with the topic and reached out to him about getting funding to continue researching it for a summer. He just started running a lab (BU Global Health Labs) and he mentored me through the project. I got UROP funding and stayed in Boston for the summer by also being a Summer Resident Assistant.

CCD: What was the best thing about the experience? What was the worst?

DC: The best part of the experience was really having control over what I wanted to study, while being able to bounce ideas off of an amazing mentor. The worst thing about the experience was the struggle to accept the fact that a lot of the information is very limited for developing low and middle income countries.

CCD: What was the most memorable moment of your experience?

DC: At the UROP symposium I presented my findings and just being able to talk to students, parents, professionals in the field, and countless others, it made me realize how truly important this topic is and how receptive people are to it. Students were asking me, “where can I do research like this?” Before I met Lawrence there really was not a place to do this kind of thing specific to healthcare financing and economics. So, that I would have to say is being the most memorable experience for me.

CCD: What advice would you give to another student about making the most of an internship or job experience?

DC: Embrace the hardship of it and always be adaptable and flexible to work around the issues you will come across in research.

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