Luther College student assists Rochester organizations to address COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in minority groups

July 12, 2022

Luther College student, Michael Musa ’23, has been working with community organizations to address COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among minority groups in Rochester. As a data analyst intern for the Diversity Council, a nonprofit organization devoted to designing equitable communities, Musa interacted with people and data to help improve health equity for Rochester residents.

“This internship was so thrilling because I got the opportunity to build relationships with people of various backgrounds in a new setting,” said Musa. “With my work focused on analyzing vaccine event data and searching for cultural barriers that limit data entry, I was able to identify what systems I could create to improve vaccine event data collection and interpretation.”

During his time at the Diversity Council, Musa gained invaluable experience in designing data collection systems for organizations and individuals.

“The major problem I was trying to solve concerned data redundancy and incorrect data entry. Since I was largely working with a multicultural group, many acronyms needed for data collection were lengthy and confusing. By creating a database-enforced WebApp, I was able to solve these problems and improve data querying, presentation and access,” said Musa.

A recent partnership between the Diversity Council and Project Healings rose out of mutual organizational goals to improve healthcare access and outcomes for marginalized groups. One of their primary efforts is to make COVID-19 vaccines accessible to all residents of the state. The Diversity Council aims to destigmatize vaccine hesitancy and investigate the socio-economic disparities that cause it. With key partners such as Project Healings, the Diversity Council hopes to expand its reach to ensure all people are served equitably.

Musa completed this internship as part of Luther’s Rochester Semester program which provides students of all majors an opportunity to study and work in Rochester. Drawing on the college’s expansive alumni base in the area, students have unique access to immersive learning opportunities designed to help them discern career paths, acquire job-related experience, and facilitate career networking. Rochester Semester participants also enroll in two Rochester-based courses taught by Luther College faculty.


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