Interning in the JDRF Advocacy Office – Homira’s Story

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Human health is at the forefront of my priorities. Understanding its fragility prompted me to become an advocate for achieving the best health status one can. If there is anything I learned thus far in my life, it is to appreciate what the human body is capable of, and the importance of taking care of oneself physically and psychologically. My name is Homira Wardak. I am a biology major and political science minor at Loyola University Chicago, and I have just become an Advocacy intern for JDRF.

Homira meeting with Sen. Durbin at the Office of the Minority Whip (U.S. Capitol Building)!

My interest in political science surfaced when I was invited to the State of the Union address in 2015 as Congresswoman (now Senator) Duckworth’s guest. The Congresswoman wanted to take a scholar that would benefit from President Obama’s proposal to provide two free years of community college. During my visit to Washington, D.C., I networked with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Senator Dick Durbin, and Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. I also met with Congressman Brad Wenstrup, a physician and U.S. Representative. We shared a discussion pertaining to how often the roads of medicine and politics cross.  I left the conversation feeling inspired but, more importantly, inquisitive.

Homira, pictured analyzing micro plastic in sediment samples at Loyola University Chicago. http://abc7chicago.com/news/are-you-eating-your-fleece/1969996/

Pursuing a profession in health is not a surprise to my fellow peers or colleagues! Since I was young, I spent hours volunteering in my community’s emergency room department and shadowing physicians. I witnessed a wide spectrum of suffering, and that’s why mitigating patient discomfort became my focus. I came to the realization that I wanted to be a part of a team that optimizes human well-being as efficiently as possible. Last spring, I started working in a lab analyzing micro plastic concentrations in organisms, sediments, and surface waters. I pondered the implications plastic ingestion could have on larger organisms like you and me.

Today, it is critical for me to understand the additional work being done outside hospital walls and doctors’ offices. I need to understand how health professionals are being regulated, how advanced medical technology is being regulated, and why both can operate within certain parameters only.

JDRF is, evidently, the trendsetter in type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, funneling resources to prevent, treat, and cure T1D. So far, I enjoy learning about all new technologies being developed in this field. I am most excited about artificial pancreas systems that will automatically manage an individual’s glucose levels by delivering controlled amounts of insulin to the body. This is revolutionary in the field of medicine! I look forward to working closely with JDRF as I intern in their advocacy department, and learning how I can help my new community in the best way possible.