Brigitte Ruiz '18 has found a variety of ways to improve the well-being of others at Colby-Sawyer, such as participating in Christian Navigators Fellowship and the Medical Reserve Corps. A health care management major in the Business Administration Department, Ruiz worked at New London Hospital as a community wellness intern and helped launch the “Healthy Eating Initiative” in the New London community last summer. She wanted to make an impact on yet another community, though, so she secured a second internship. This time, it took her to the other side of the world.
Ruiz spent this summer interning with Genesis Rehab Services (GRS), a leading provider of rehabilitation services and partner to hospitals. GRS recently expanded to China, and Ruiz took the opportunity to apply her studies in the city of Qinhuangdao.
During her internship, Ruiz accompanied GRS directors to meetings, conducted competitive analyses of the organization’s various processes and supported office administrative duties. She also tracked patients’ rehabilitation progress and presented her patient case studies to the rehabilitation department.
Ruiz cites her Colby-Sawyer course Introduction to Health Care Systems course for giving her a foundation on which to understand the Chinese health care model. She also relied on other business classes that taught her about the functions and responsibilities of health care administrators, which was essential during her review of the organization’s human resources and health care departments.
Ruiz knows firsthand how much cultural exchange occurs through travel. Originally from the capital city of Colombia, her family immigrated to Dedham, Mass., when she was in high school. GRS has introduced its clients to the Western model of disease prevention, and, in turn, Ruiz has learned about yet another country’s approach to the business of health care.
“This internship showed me that business and its application to the realm of health care management is the right field of study for me,” said Ruiz. “GRS is an organization whose main goal is to touch and improve people’s lives, and that is a goal that I also want to work toward.”
Ruiz also incorporated her interdisciplinary education into her internship. She decided to minor in studio art after taking a course to complete Colby-Sawyer’s liberal arts requirements, and GRS allowed her to focus on her photography skills by having her assist the marketing department. Ruiz’sphotographs were posted on social media to help market tours to prospective patients and investors.
Living abroad for two months is not without a price, but Colby-Sawyer helped make Ruiz’s internship possible. A grant funded by a donation from Jean Cragin Ingwersen ’54 defrayed some of the costs, and Ruiz is grateful for all the support she has received along the way.
“Colby-Sawyer College has guided me to take multiple educational and professional opportunities,” she said. “Each has allowed me to learn something new about my career path.”