I think of public health as helping communities live healthier lives through education, research, and law.
I did not initially plan to study public health – I wanted to work in diplomacy — but the Gates Millennium Scholarship program, which has fully funded my post-secondary education, inspired me to take a different path. The Gates Foundation showed me that through the interdisciplinary nature of public health, I can help others in a variety of ways.
The single most rewarding experience thus far has been working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Law Program. Before starting there, I did not have a clear understanding of what public health and practice look like, but the CDC has showed me exactly that. The opportunity has been life changing. I have been able to work in almost every field in public health, so now I understand first-hand how everything is tied together. I have been able to do everything, from scientifically comparing laws across jurisdictions to building competency models for public health practioners.
I wish someone would have told me it is okay to venture into the different sub-fields of public health. I have not had the chance to study every area that public health encompasses, and I wish I would have designated time in my degree program to do so.
I do not think public health faces just one big challenge. I think there are various big issues, but they are equally important. They include increases in chronic disease, the opioid epidemic, the threat of bioterrorism, and so much more. Public health issues are constantly emerging, and all of them are equally important.Find an Academic Program in Health Policy and Management, TIPH Student Ambassador