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Embracing New Beginnings: My Journey with the Arkansas Birthing Project by Alex Pettus, Grand Canyon University MPH Intern




As I embarked on my public health journey, I knew my internship would be a pivotal experience. Determined to immerse myself in a cause I could relate to, I was drawn to the Arkansas Birthing Project—a non-profit dedicated to maternal health. Little did I know that this decision would lead to a personal and professional transformative journey.


Stepping into the Arkansas Birthing Project was like entering a vibrant community filled with warmth and purpose. Despite my initial apprehensions as a non-mother and someone unfamiliar with maternal and infant mortality, I was welcomed with open arms. The prospect of relating to others and connecting with the little sisters initially seemed daunting. Still, amidst my uncertainties, I found unwavering support from Dr. Zenobia Harris.


Dr. Harris, the esteemed Executive Director of the Arkansas Birthing Project, exuded a presence that commanded respect and admiration. Before our meeting, I delved into the organization's website and stumbled upon a podcast interview featuring Dr. Harris. Listening to her words, I was captivated by her passion and knowledge, instantly realizing I had much to learn from her.


Under Dr. Harris's mentorship, I blossomed as a graduate student. Her guidance pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to embrace new perspectives. As I absorbed everything she imparted, I felt a sense of pride knowing that I was contributing to a cause championed by such an inspirational leader.


My time with the Arkansas Birthing Project taught me invaluable lessons about the significance of maternal health in Arkansas and beyond. Through Dr. Harris's expertise, I gained insights that transcended academia, shaping me into a more empathetic and informed advocate.


To my fellow graduate students, I urge you to seek internships that challenge and push you to reach your full potential. Embrace opportunities that expand your horizons and foster personal growth. As I reflect on my journey with the Arkansas Birthing Project, I am grateful for its profound impact on my life and career trajectory.


"In closing, . Black women's voices are faded in the background, hidden behind white noise, too often forgotten about.Let us remember the importance of standing up for causes that matter and amplifying the voices of those whose stories are often unheard

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