BSPH student reflects on White House internship

Alex Ochoa worked alongside public health policy experts in Washington, D.C.

Kristen Mitchell
A graphic featuring a photo of Alex Ochoa posing in front of the Capitol building and red text that reads "Public Health Buckeye in Washington"

As an intern with the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, Alex Ochoa spent his summer gaining hands-on experience working on public health policy. 

Ochoa, a fourth-year student majoring in public health, contributed to the office’s ongoing work focused on harm reduction, prevention, treatment and recovery. He worked alongside policy analysts on the White House proclamation on national youth substance prevention, released annually in September.

Policy has always been a passion for Ochoa, who seized the opportunity to spend the summer in Washington, D.C., with other Buckeyes through the John Glenn College of Public Affairs’ Washington Academic Internship Program. Attending a July 4 celebration at the White House and a speech about the economic power of Latino businesses by Vice President Kamala Harris were two highlights for Ochoa, along with building connections with White House employees. 

“Being invited to those spaces and having a seat and a place in those environments is what truly made that some of my best memories,” he said.

Ochoa’s desire to make community-level change inspired his decision to pursue a public health degree. He’s passionate about combatting food insecurity, improving health equity and expanding access to health care resources. Ochoa, a first-generation college student, plans to attend medical school after graduation.

"I aspire to become a physician to reduce the frequency of preventable chronic conditions and advance health equity in underrepresented communities,” he said. “I have long-term goals of combatting public health concerns beyond providing medical care, but rather using research to inform national policy."

This article reflects Ochoa’s experience and is not intended to reflect the views, positions or opinions of the Executive Office of the President.