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Profiles in Public Health

Profile

Esther Robbins

MD, MPH, Global Health

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

Public health is the ability to look at health issues in a community or population and create/develop solutions that have long-term impacts for promotion of health and prevention of disease.

2. What inspired you to study to public health?

I am interested in rural as well as international medicine. For me, practicing in both of these environments requires understanding of how a community can work together towards its own health promotion.

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

Between the first and second year of medical school, I had the opportunity to complete an international preceptorship in western Uganda. This experience was so meaningful, not necessarily because I contributed much to the efforts of the hospital I worked in, but because I saw how much public health meant to this community hospital. Witnessing how they truly desired to engage in their surrounding community further inspired my decision to study public health.

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

I spoke with many advisers and mentors about my desire to pursue a degree in public health, but perhaps a piece of advice that I could have used, would have been to be prepared for how public health is important in all aspects of our daily lives. It’s overwhelming to start learning just how crucial public health is and the victories of public health are a testament to that.

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

As a future primary care physician, my biggest concern is the level of harm non-communicable and chronic disease has on our society and around the world. Great efforts are being attempted through public health campaigns, but as a provider, I wish to be a part of the change at the level of the medical professional to focus on preventive medicine and holistic health care for individual and community health.