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Profiles in Public Health

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Joel Begay

MPH, Hospital & Molecular, Epidemiology

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

Public health is protecting and improving the health status our family and community members through promotion of healthy lifestyles, research, and in prevention and control of infectious diseases.

2. What inspired you to study public health?

As an aspiring MD, I assisted in conducting a clinical study at the University of Utah investigating the effects of air pollution on individuals with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. From this study, I better understood the environmental factors and their effects of population and individual health. I modified my journey and have decided to become an MD/MPH who will treat individual patients with medical training and will also improve the health status of communities through my training in epidemiology.

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

Spreading public health awareness to friends and family, notifying them that Public Health is important and can be a “hard science,” especially in research and in infectious disease.

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

Consider all fields of public health and determine if the institutions which you are considering having internships and other opportunities that are in-line with your intentions of attaining an MPH.

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

Health disparities

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