Dell Med School partners with Wellness Network to create internship program for developing healthy living practices

Mariadela Villegas

Dell Medical School and Wellness Network have partnered to create an internship program under their Model Healthy Campus initiative for developing healthy living practices on campus. 

Lead by project manager Meghana Gadgil and systems designer Lucas Artusi, the internship program aims to make Austin a model healthy community that other cities can follow. Before interns start projects, the program will teach them how to think creatively to address different situations. The interns are presented with information, such as an interviews they deconstruct in order to find the underlying passions or emotions driving that person.

“My hope for our interns is for them to see that by doing what we are teaching them — not just learning in a classroom, but actually applying design thinking — they will get to see how it has applications throughout many aspects of their lives and careers,” Gadgil said.

Interns are introduced to the idea of “design thinking,” in which they are taught to think in an explorative way that is highly collaborative, empathetic and creative. Gadgil said “design thinking” is used to find the complex reasoning behind what humans do every day and to use what they learn when approaching different situations and developing designed solutions to promote healthy living on campus.

The internship is open to anyone interested in the idea of making UT a model healthy community. With the pool of interns ranging from undergraduate architecture majors to graduate art majors to staff members, Artusi said he found real value in the group’s diversity.

“We have pretty good representation from all the schools on campus, and we wouldn’t want it any other way,” Artusi said.

Architecture freshman Autusa Behroozi, one of the Model Healthy Campus interns, said she was interested in the mixture of design and health offered by the internship.

“[The internship] was out of the ordinary and gave us unexpected results,” Behroozi said. 

Behroozi said the internship offered her a new and creative way to look for solutions.

“We tend to study and read statistics and have the logical way of reasoning why we aren’t healthy, but nobody knows why sometimes we are not motivated to become healthier,” Behroozi said. “Everybody knows the bad habits they have, but they keep doing them, and I want to know why.”