Nutrition Communication and Policy Advocacy in Washington, DC
This past summer I had the privilege to intern for N. Chapman Associates in Washington, DC. N. Chapman Assoc. is a small nutrition communication and advocacy consulting firm that’s been operating for over 30 years. Working in a small group, I was able to contribute to a range of projects. I was also able to participate in advocacy days at both the local and federal level.
From the moment I started in late May, I was incorporated into the team and participated in project ideation and brainstorming. My very first day, I participated in a client conference call and was called upon for my opinion. This immediate inclusion made me feel like part of the team and gave me confidence in what I was able to contribute to the work that was being done.
As a consulting firm there were many projects occurring simultaneously that had diverse requirements. The projects I worked on included:
- Health/nutrition communications packages for a faith-based community organization
- Policy report summaries
- Literature reviews
- Government/political backgrounds
- Cultural Research
- Contribution to nutrition educator/cultural competency trainings
- Handout and worksheet design for the DC SNAP-ed Nutrition Educator Training Toolkit
- Marketing strategy for the Toolkit
- Grant writing process
- Coalition building
- Represent and report on relevant community meetings
The projects I found most interesting occurred in areas where I had little experienced and was pushed to learn quickly. One such project was the marketing strategy for the Nutrition Educator Training Toolkit. I worked on this piece of the project towards the end of the summer and was responsible for proposing the initial strategy to the team. The process of developing a proposal outline incorporated research and problem-solving skills I have cultivated as part of the UC Berkeley MPH program, as well as practical and culturally sensitive information I had learned over the summer. This project also allowed me to think creatively. Combining all of these skills gave me a great perspective for what consulting work would entail and introduced me to a new realm of employment possibilities I hadn’t previously considered.
Lastly, the two lobby days I participated in gave me a much better understanding of the workings of local and federal governments. I learned the importance of connecting with staff members and tailoring the policy information for each politician. These days were exhausting and rewarding because I felt like I had participated in something important, but knew the potential impact was months away. I left DC full of new possibilities and skills and a greater appreciation for the long-term work required to influence policy.