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Meet Elena Gifford.

Elena is a 2023 graduate of Drake's undergraduate Health Sciences program! She majored in Health Care Administration, double minored in French and Business, and held a concentration in Global and Comparative Public Health. Elena completed her final-year Internship Experience with the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner.

Name: Elena Gifford
Hometown: Pueblo, Colorado
Major: Health Care Administration with a concentration in Global and Comparative Public Health
Minors: French and Business
Senior Internship Organization: Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner

What were your responsibilities with this internship/research and the overall goal?

My responsibilities at the internship site were working with the Child Death Review Team reviewing and entering cases into the National Child Fatality Review and Prevention database. Essentially, whenever a child died in Iowa (even if due to natural causes) it came into the ME's office and the interns/clerks would review the files (police reports, autopsy reports, CPS reports, etc.) and enter it into the database. My research was on adolescent suicide to see if demographic factors (race, ethnicity, etc.) and the presence of life stressors affect the method of suicide.

What has been your favorite thing about this Internship Experience?

My favorite thing about my internship experience is the unique experiences I've been presented with. For example, the other intern and I were able to attend the annual county medical examiners' conference which was super interesting. We also were able to scrub in for autopsies, which I never would've thought I'd be able to do!

What made you choose Drake and the Health Sciences program?

I chose Drake because of the Crew Scholars program, the size of the university, and the Health Sciences Internship Program!

What are your career goals and plans after graduation?

After graduation, I'm going to law school at the University of Denver for health law! 

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