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Profiles in Public Health

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Audrey Jacobsen

MD/MPH, Global Health, Minority Health and Health Disparities

1. In one sentence, what is public health to you?

Public health is a way for me to better understand my patients’ illnesses in the larger context of their disease so that I can provide more comprehensive and holistic health care.

2. What inspired you to study to public health?

I was inspired to study public health after my study abroad semester with the International Honors Program to Washington D.C., Tanzania, and Vietnam. The goal of the program was to compare community health care between all three countries. This program showed me the many ways that public health can positively impact communities around the globe.

3. What has been the single most rewarding experience of your career/studies so far?

The most rewarding experience of my studies so far has been volunteering as the Logistics Coordinator at the Lotus Wellness Clinic, a clinic for homeless women in Miami. The women we saw at this clinic had often been failed by the medical system and this clinic was their only point of care. The impact of public health interventions like STD screening and pap smears was incredibly beneficial and valuable to these patients.

4. What is the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were starting out in public health?

One piece of advice I wish I had gotten when starting out in public health was insight into how much effort and time it takes to design, research, and implement a public health intervention. It’s important to work on a team, plan in advance, and be flexible when working on interventions.

5. What do you think is the biggest challenge that the public health field should be focusing on?

The biggest challenge in public health is finding novel ways to address health disparities in our communities.

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