Go Folic! and SFDPH Welcome Daniella Coker!

We are excited to welcome Daniella Coker to the Go Folic! family.  Daniella will be interning with Go Folic!’s parent organization, the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s Family Planning and Preconception Health Program.  Daniella, an intern from the California Family Health Council’s Family Title X Open Doors Program will be doing an assessment of San Francisco women’s family planning and preconception health needs.  Here is Daniella in her own words!


Daniella Coker is an intern from the California Family Health Council's Open Door PRogramHi, my name is Daniella Coker and I am a recent graduate from UC Berkeley in Molecular and Cell Biology. I speak Spanish and am half Italian from my mother’s side, although she was born and raised in Venezuela. I love photography, camping, and traveling. I have been to Europe, Central and South America, and hope to visit Southeast Asia someday!

One of the things I am most proud of is actively seeking out and becoming involved in UC Berkeley’s chapter of MEDLIFE, because it inspired my interest in the field of public health. This club provided me with the opportunity to visit Ecuador and Peru to learn about their healthcare systems, and to provide clinical support to local physicians.

My basic clinical duties included assisting gynecologists with Pap smears, interacting with women to encourage them to be tested, and maintaining a comfortable environment for those who were already being tested. It was clear that many of these women felt embarrassed to discuss their reproductive health and/or had never gotten a Pap smear during their previous visits to the doctor’s.

This experience taught me first-hand the prevalence of discomfort regarding the topic of reproductive health. We cannot deny that we are not sexual beings. Unfortunately, people of many cultures tend to feel embarrassed when talking about reproductive health, even though it is as an important aspect of health as our mental and physical well-being.

I held various laboratory positions during college, working on projects ranging from studying the effects of stress on the growth of neuronal stem cells to optimizing a DNA extraction method for a biotechnology company. My most recent position was for three months in Managua, Nicaragua studying the incidence of different influenza subtypes in children. This laboratory position, however rewarding, motivated me to look for public health opportunities outside of the lab, thus landing me the position within MCAH’s Family Planning Program.

I am very excited about interning with MCAH’s Family Planning Program, not only because of its emphasis on preventative care but also because these resources are being made accessible to people of varying socioeconomic statuses and cultural backgrounds. I will be working on this year’s needs assessment of Family Planning services within SFDPH’s community clinics. I am most excited about fulfilling an active role for this study and getting hands-on experience with a different aspect of public health research!

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