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Profiles in Public Health

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Frédérique Jean-Baptiste

DrPH, Epidemiology

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

Public health is promoting health through action, motivation, and education.

2. What inspired you to study public health?

I grew up in a country where preventable diseases were the top causes of disability and death. I understood early on how education, health seeking patterns and access to care could impact people’s health. I was inspired to pursue public health to have a professional grasp of the factors affecting population health and wellbeing.

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

Whenever you get a chance to, step out of the classroom and apply concepts you have learned in the real world; May that be through volunteerism, internships, or fellowships. Working in the field on a real life project always has its rewards. Sometimes they are compliments from a colleague or a smile from a thankful community member.

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

Network. Network. Network. Do not be afraid to contact whomever you think might be able to help you. A nice email expressing similar interests, asking for guidance or help will usually get an answer.

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

Communication between community and researcher. In doing so, projects would feel more ‘by the people, for the people’ and would limit resistance toward implementation.

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