We asked Ben Goldberg a few questions about himself and his role at ICH. Read on to learn more!
- How would you describe your role at ICH?
At ICH, I am a research associate. As a research associate, I’m responsible for a wide range of tasks. I frequently communicate with my project teams, schedule and facilitate meetings, take notes, and maintain tracking spreadsheets to document communications with clients and notes for follow up. A large chunk of my work centers on data collection, which involves conducting qualitative interviews and focus groups with program participants and providers in both English and Spanish, or distributing surveys. Following data collection, I work on coding and extracting themes from the data and weaving these themes into a full report or presentation.
Additionally, I engage in data visualization activities. I’ve used Canva to create presentations, maps that describe program impacts, and infographics that elevate key qualitative and quantitative findings. I’ve also gained some preliminary quantitative skills by building a data dashboard in Excel.
2. What is your educational background?
I received a Bachelor’s of Science from the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University in 2018 with a concentration in social policy. I also studied Global Health and Spanish as minors.
3. What was your career path before coming to ICH?
During my undergraduate studies at Northwestern, I worked at MassINC in Boston as a research intern and at Heartland Alliance International in Chicago as a development/research intern.
After graduating from Northwestern University in 2018, I moved to Chicago and started working as a paralegal in the civil rights and complex litigation group of a law firm.
4. What made you decide to come to ICH?
ICH caught my eye because the work captures many of my interests. It also is a new world for me entirely as I had no prior evaluation experience, which made me excited to challenge myself and learn new concepts and ideas.
Having studied social policy, global health studies, and Spanish as an undergraduate student, I wanted to work at an organization that supports work rooted in social justice and seeks to uplift and empower marginalized communities. I also liked that my position as a research associate would afford me the opportunity to apply Spanish language skills.
The understanding of health that ICH embraces is broad and comprehensive. At ICH, health is not just defined through a clinical or medical lens. Rather, health from ICH’s standpoint is all-encompassing and integrates all components that impact well-being. The idea that community health is influenced by a complex mix of factors, including policy that impacts access to healthy living spaces, educational opportunities, and employment, aligned nicely with my interests and what I learned at school.
5. What are some projects that you are working on right now?
The nexus of all my projects at ICH is health equity, with an emphasis on increasing health equity for communities facing disproportionate health inequities. The projects that I work on tackle a wide range of focus areas, including substance use recovery and reentry services for Black and Latino men, healthcare systems transformation, community power-building and policy change, and increasing food security for immigrant families.
6. What are your favorite projects topics and why?
I’m particularly interested in projects that analyze the association between health and wellness and different cultural backgrounds, access to food, and avenues to achieve community and policy changes. I enjoy learning about cultural norms around health and wellness and how different communities are impacted by social determinants of health.
Additionally, projects that evaluate changes at the community and policy levels are particularly interesting to me because I majored in social policy in college. A few of the projects I have been involved with at ICH have evaluated how policies and political context impact community health and how communities are building power and realizing policy change. These projects are some of my favorites because I can speak directly with community members or program staff that work with community members and learn how communities are transforming and improving.
7. What are you most excited about for the future of ICH?
I’m very excited for ICH to take on new project topic areas and partnerships. ICH already boasts an impressive, multi-faceted portfolio of projects, but I am nonetheless looking forward to seeing the types of new projects ICH will gain in the future.
8. What are your hobbies or things you like to do for fun?
In my free time, I enjoy reading books, traveling (both physically and virtually through Google Maps), enjoying nature, taking photos, trying new restaurants and food, and spending time with family and friends.
9. Do you have any plans for the fall season? Anything that you are looking forward to?
Yes! I’m looking forward to all the classic fall activities: apple picking, lighting fall-scented candles, watching scary movies, and of course, Halloween. My partner and I will be heading to Vermont in October to see the fall foliage there. We’re also going to Provincetown with some friends to celebrate my partner’s birthday.