Amanda Prifti: Partners in Health

by Rachel Shaheen

Everyone is hard-working, unbelievably friendly, dedicated and united for a greater purpose — ending global health inequality. When something so meaningful is a common factor in an environment, it’s electrifying. Contagious. Invigorating. Really makes waking up  every morning a pleasure rather than a chore,” said Amanda Prifti, a senior at Northeastern finishing her final co-op at Partners in Health.

            As a nonprofit corporation headquartered in Boston, Partners in Health claims its purpose: “At its root, our mission is both medical and moral. It is based on solidarity, rather than charity alone.” Prifti further explained that PIH “fights global inequalities through providing a high level of health care and accompaniment to the world’s less fortunate. Working across borders, PIH challenges financial, social and governmental norms to enforce human rights, to ensure that health care is deemed a human right and gets provided to all.”

            Prifti was hired as the Operations and IT Procurement Assistant. To break her tasks down on a day-to-day basis, Prifti engages in: financial reporting, tracking invoices, running billing reports, tracking IT equipment orders, answering the PIH general info email account, and solving minor IT issues. On an informal basis, Prifti has taken on numerous other projects that have included packing shipments to Rwanda and Haiti, printing last-minute logos for the lab coats of Paul Farmer at the Butaro Cancer Center opening, observing the PIH 25th Anniversary events, and making final preparations for the opening of the Mirebalais Teaching Hospital in Haiti.

            Prifti emphasized that although her title may not appear to be glamorous, she had been given substantial opportunities to gain “an invaluable amount of knowledge.” Because she has exposed her willingness to take on projects outside of her official position, she has involved herself in much of the organization’s enriching work. She has even had the honorable opportunity of meeting Paul Farmer! 

            The most prominent example is her collaboration with the PIH’s new initiative, PIH Engage, which has been well underway for about two months. As Prifti described, “It is a ground breaking movement — first of it’s kind at PIH. Bringing communities together from around the country, PIH Engage uses education, advocacy and fundraising to further the change for global health care.”

            As a grass-roots dynamic, 15 regional organizers and 30 community coordinators are provided with tools from the PIH National Team in order to better unite and engage local levels. Prifti participated in a weekend training for the program, in which she described with great enthusiasm: “We flew about 30 people from around the country to Boston and spent the weekend launching this powerful community engaging initiative. The energy, motivation and power in the room was an absolute highlight of my co-op — well worth the 10 hours of sleep I got the entire weekend.”

            Prifti could not say enough about the incredible people she is surrounded by. PIH organizes weekly meetings with the entire staff to share updates on each team’s work, along with “brown bag” lunches featuring special presentations. Prifti attributes her new knowledge, relationships, and over-all involvement to events as such.

            Prifti made an initial connection with her former co-op boss at the Environmental Protection Agency, whom reached out to Partners in Health. This led to a phone conversation, two in-person interviews, and ultimately Prifti’s dream co-op. She expressed her apprehension about ever working for such an incredible organization, but her persistence in utilizing her networks and pursuing her career goals, resulted in great success. Working for PIH post-graduation would be ideal for Prifti. She would love to continue working alongside an incredibly driven group of people, as well as “delivering a preferential health care option to the world’s poor.”

            The Operations & IT position may be open in the future for students interested in the organization. Prifti stressed not to be deterred from applying if students do not have previous experience in this type of work. PIH welcomes anyone with an open mind, flexibility, and a deep passion for the organization’s mission.

            There are other opportunities within PIH as a community member or coordinator, under the PIH Engage. Feel free to contact Jon Shaffer at jshaffer@pih.org or Prifti herself to join the team or link up with the closest engaged community. Additionally, there is a more formal position with the PIH National Team. To find out more about Partners in Health, feel free to email Amanda Prifti with any questions at prifti.a@husky.neu.edu

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