AHA Philadelphia Thankful Holiday Reflections

The Thanksgiving holiday is often a time of reflection and gratitude. 

At the American Heart Association Philadelphia, we’re incredibly grateful for so much and for so many people. Among the long list of those we’re thankful for such as our volunteers, donors, and partnering organizations, includes our two-time summer intern, DeAndra Forde. 

Forde is an alumna of Drexel University. In the summers of 2019 and 2020, she interned with AHA Philadelphias Community Impact team. 

“Before I started interning, I only knew that the AHA is one of the best research-based organizations on heart health, and that they wear a red dress pin every February for National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about cardiovascular health,” said Forde. 

That knowledge greatly increased after each summer spent working under the guidance of Samantha Mogil, community impact director, and others on the Community Impact team.  

Forde dedicated her time to learning about nutrition security and examining how it had been exacerbated due to COVID-19, particularly in the Greater Philadelphia area. She actively participated in both internal meetings and external meetings with community partners such as Philadelphia’s Food Policy Advisory Council (FPAC) and Philadelphia’s Collaborate Opportunities Advance Community Health (COACH). During each meeting, conversations around the critical work that needed to be done to support local community residents and how to successfully deploy resources were held.  

To read more on how AHA Philadelphia increased support for local residents during COVID-19, click here. 

A portion of Forde’s time was also spent with the communications team. She created nutrition-related posts that highlighted various AHA heart-healthy recipes and included nutrition facts about the ingredients. 

“Everyone was so welcoming, and I felt a part of the AHA family,” said Forde, who hopes to find another opportunity to stay engaged with American Heart as she pursues a Master of Public Health. “The organization is so multifaceted and there are many ways to develop your passions while making a difference.” 

And that’s exactly what DeAndra Forde did while interning with AHA Philadelphia – made a difference in both the organization and the Greater Philadelphia community.