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Marcus McKay Jr.

MPH, Epidemiology & Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics, University of Michigan School of Public Health

In one sentence, what is public health to you?

Public health is the interdisciplinary field of study whose sole purpose is to investigate, inform, and intervene on any subject that causes harm to the health of the mass population.

What inspired you to study public health?

The inspiration behind studying public health is based on my passion to help others through the means of science and technology. After devoting essential time to develop my skills, I believe that I can make a direct and lasting impact in the field of public health.

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

The most rewarding experience so far was the start of my public health career as an epidemiologist. By participating in Project IMHOTEP at Morehouse College Public Health Sciences Institute, I was afforded the opportunity to research a health disparity in a vulnerable community. Furthermore, I volunteered with a non-profit to serve those in need along with meeting other CDC Undergraduate Public Health Scholars in the summer of 2019. The experience was very enriching for I will never forget the lessons I was taught moving forward.

Advice:

Step away from the rush of the world and take the time out to self-reflect on the issues you are most passionate about. Develop a long-term, medium-term, and short-term goals that are building blocks towards fulfilling your passion. Seek mentors and peers that are of substance to your goals and do not forget to help others achieve their goals along the way. Get ready to work and enjoy the road ahead.

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

The biggest challenge that the public health field should focus on is systematic changes that disproportionately affect the health of those most vulnerable. This monumental challenge is a necessary task that will allow public health practitioners to be proactive. By advocating for policies, that are supported by research, we will be intervening on the health of people who suffer from systematic racism, lack of quality (patient-focused) healthcare, and little to no community resources for advancing mental and physical wellbeing. I know this task will take generations to complete but I know it is a possible feat that will be accomplished one day.

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