Sunday, October 30, 2011

The bright future of public health

Students from around the country gathered for the annual National Student Meeting yesterday, all drawn to the field of public health for various reasons. We met up with just a few of the hundreds of students in attendance at the event, which was organized by the APHA Student Assembly, to find out more about their personal motivations for pursuing studies in public health.

“As a teen parent, I went through the prenatal process and experienced first-hand the shortcomings of the health care system. I personally experienced a lot of barriers, so I don’t want others to go through the same thing I did. I want to bridge the gaps between the health care system and teen parents.”
Brittany Chambers, Oakland, Calif.
Second-year MPH student, California State University – Fresno

“After my undergrad, I applied and got into USF. Once I got into the master’s program, I loved it. I really enjoyed it. I got my degree in global health practice. After that I took a year off and worked in the field before applying to the PhD program. After schooling, I hope to make a difference.”
Pam Guevara, Tampa, Fla.
PhD candidate, University of South Florida

“My interest in public health started with an interest in my personal health. Through my studies, I learned of all the problems with behavior and how that affects people’s health. So with knowledge from the public health field, I want to be in a position to help other people, especially other students and people my age.”
Renzo Meza, Gaithersburg, Md.
Psychology and public health major, University of Maryland - Baltimore County

“I studied anthropology in undergrad. I took a public health class and immediately thought it was for me. I got my MPH at UCLA and took a year off to work in eastern Kentucky, where I was exposed to rural health issues. I was finding there were a lot of needs in the community and I could incorporate anthropology and public health.”
Julia Caldwell
PhD candidate, University of California – Los Angeles

“When I was in a refugee camp in Sudan, I saw one person who made a difference in our lives. He was an Ethiopian doctor who helped with a cholera outbreak. He called on me to help translate for him. When I saw how one individual made such an impact on so many people, I was inspired.”
John Mabior, originally from south Sudan
Public health major, University of Maryland – Baltimore County

“Since I was 14, I was interested in health. My dad works in health promotion, and I’ve always been interested and passionate about living a healthy life. I want to help others to do the same. Eventually, I want to change the world! I’d really like to work with organizations to help others live healthier lives. I’ll be applying to doctoral programs soon. I have an end goal, but I’m not quite sure about the ‘how’ just yet.”
Allison O’Donnell, West Bloomfield, Mich.
Second-year MPH student, University of Michigan

— L.R.

Photos by Lalaine Ricardo

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