Week 4: Living life by the Spreadsheet

The mission of the Department of Health and Human services (HHS) is to “enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans. [They] fulfill that mission by providing for effective health and human services fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services.” However, the mission of the Office of Inspector General at HHS is “to protect the integrity of HHS programs as well as the health and welfare of program beneficiaries.” The OIG accomplishes this mission by using a nationwide network of audits, investigations, and evaluations in combination with policy recommendations at both the state and federal level to control fraud, waste, and abuse of taxpayer dollars. The OIG at HHS has 6 different offices within it, the Immediate Office of the Inspector General (IO), Office of Audit Services (OAS), Office of Evaluation and Inspections (OEI), Office of Management and Policy (OMP), and the Office of Investigations (OI). Each office has its own unique purpose, but the ones that carry out the mission out in the field most directly are OAS and OI while the other offices act in support. The budget team, whom I work for, is part of the Office of Management and Policy.  The OIG came into existence from the Inspector General Act of 1978, which mandated creation of IG’s for several executive cabinet departments.

Something fun that I did last weekend was going to the American Indian museum and then going to a Kennedy center show the next day. I thought the American Indian museum was very cool and unique. The most interesting part of the museum for me was the short, interactive movie that took advantage of the roof and floor, resulting in a very immersive experience in displaying American Indian culture and storytelling. At the Kennedy center, there was a circus tour that came in and gave a nice show. The most impressive stunts at the show for me were the really flexible people that did a bunch of neat moves. Never in my life did I think that a human body could bend in such ways. The other impressive thing was a circus person doing a triple air backflip and landing back on a thin stick.

One thing I have learned is to take all advice from your seniors seriously. With the 4th of July coming up, I have been asking many people in my office what plans they had. Other than sleeping in, many of my seniors told me to go early to the Capitol building lawn early to find a place in the grass and listen to musical rehearsals from famous bands that will play through the day. I have also heard that 4th of July is really a one time experience for most DC natives: you just see what happens once and then sit on the sidelines in the future. I also learned that the metro becomes essentially unusable, and it is preferable to just walk to the capitol. I have also learned to be keen on facial and body cues. If I find my supervisor to be really busy, I might ask once if they need help with anything, but there is a fine balance between being completely new and unable to help and easing some load. In the budget office, some reports are very serious and carry big responsibility with them, and pouring this burden onto an intern might not be the smart thing to do at once, however, my load has been increasing over time. I look forward to my first DC 4th of July next week!

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