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Profiles in Public Health

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Daniela Dietz-Chavez

MPH, Epidemiology

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

Public Health is a field aimed at providing all humans with their basic right to access to healthcare and an acceptable standard of living.

2. What inspired you to study to public health?

I have had the opportunity to travel to and live in many different parts of the world. Because of this, I was able to experience different cultures and realities. These windows into the way other populations live in the world taught me, harshly in many instances, that there isalways a need and demand for public health professionals. Studying public health provides you with the voice and tools to advocate for those that are underserved and are not being provided with the basic instruments to lead a healthy life, such as preventative medical care.

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

One of the most rewarding experiences I have had was when I volunteered as a Spanish interpreter with the Physicians Assistant program at Emory University. During a trip to Bainbridge, GA, we provided free medical care to the immigrant farmworkers. I feel very honored to have been a part of such an important mission, as we provided the medical assistance these underserved and extremely hard working individuals need and deserve.

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

Be very open-minded of where you see yourself working in the field of public health! Such a great aspect of public health is the numerous connections we create in communities within the US and globally; it is truly a field where you never know what project you will end up working on or who you will have the chance to collaborate with. An open mind is vital to succeed and make a difference in this line of work and to achieve the changes we envision to make during our careers.

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

I believe the biggest challenge that we are faced with and should continue to aim to meet is an equal access to healthcare within the US and globally. This change needs to be addressed from a new angle as our current methods are clearly lacking. A change within the infrastructure of our healthcare system and other global health systems needs to be given priority to achieve one that is sustainable and truly functional. This is important because it is a basic human right to all, but one that is sadly still far from being met.

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