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Profiles in Public Health

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Kyanna Williams-Pate

MPH, Generalist, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

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

Public health is bridging the gaps between health disparities to provide equitable healthcare for all.

2.       What inspired you to study public health?

I aspire to be a physician but want to learn more than how to prescribe medicine and treat individuals. I want to make a larger impact, so learning social determinants of health is important to me, so that I can ensure that I can provide the best care for all patients. Public health provides the foundation for practicing preventative medicine, which is crucial for overall wellness in a community.

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

Conducting research on sickle cell anemia in undergrad was very rewarding. I was able to find the first anemia model in zebrafish. Within this study, I found that environmental factors affect hematopoiesis in embryonic zebrafish. This information can be used for pregnant women who may be genetically predisposed to having a child with sickle cell anemia. While pregnant, these women can take nutritional supplements while their child is in utero, which can prevent their fetus’ blood cells from sickling.

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

Have an open mind when beginning your journey, because there is so much to learn!

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

Public health should focus on improving healthcare access in remote locations.

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