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Profiles in Public Health

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Jennifer Clair

MPH, Global Health, Epidemiology

In one sentence, what is public health to you?

Public health is asking the hard questions.

What inspired you to study public health?

My graduate health sciences advisor. She took one look at my final term paper and said, “You really should be in public health.” She walked me through changing programs and mentored me through the whole admissions process. Without her, I’d probably would’ve been a PA!

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

I was involved in a group project which entailed novel vaccine delivery in Nigeria. We settled on using decommissioned military drones for delivery of vaccines that required cold chain storage, something that’s difficult in a country where only 15% of roads are paved. It was a really challenging project but I learned so much.

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

No matter how great the pressure is to finish an assignment, never forget what you’re there to learn. Graduate school is difficult—it puts a lot of demands on your time and stress level. It’s easy to forget that we’re all here to improve things and make lives healthier.

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

Neglected tropical diseases. People at risk for neglected tropical diseases far outnumber those with HIV, TB, or malaria, but they receive much less attention.

Find an Academic Program in Epidemiology, Global Health