Interns Improve Their Report Writing Skills

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Interns Improve Their Report Writing Skills

Dr. Robert Fullilove, assistant professor of clinical public health at Columbia University, is a passionate man concerned about the poor writing abilities of this country's students. He believes the critical problem of improving undergraduate students' writing skills must be faced, and praises The Phrase Thesaurus-report pad, a HyperCard-like stack from Intelligence Active Software of Macomb, Ill., as one solution to the problem. It comes, he believes, at a time when instructors like himself worry about deficiencies in their students' writing.

Referring to The National Assessment of Education Progress, a report from the U.S. Department of Education, Fullilove says, "Of particular interest is [the section] they did on writing. It is apparent that secondary school kids are spending less time on writing, ...[particularly] on the expository writing that is expected at college by old-guard faculty, among whom I would include myself."

At 46 years of age, Bob Fullilove is considered one of the most promising researchers investigating the disturbing prevalence of the AIDS virus among blacks and Hispanics in America. Before moving to Columbia University this year, his wife ran the Multi-Cultural Enquiry and Research on AIDS (MERA) division within the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California, San Francisco.

Summer Interns

The Fulliloves' mission in San Francisco was to examine the socio-medical roots of HIV disease among the black and Hispanic communities. For three years the Fulliloves fostered a summer internship program for medical and graduate students, most of whom were enrolled in masters of public health programs.

The aim was to give interns hands-on exposure to clinical research, including evaluating data derived from research projects and writing reports. Fullilove admits that the objectives of the internship were ambitious simply because of the time factors involved in collecting, analyzing and writing up the data.

MERA courses consisted of half discussion and lecture and half field work. Fullilove taught all of the interns to use the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software to create data files. …