What inspired you to study public health?
I was inspired by the existing inequities in my own community growing up and I did not want to just identify them, but to positively influence the decisions that cause them in the first place through evidence-based support and the voices of its community members. It was with the guidance and support of my mentors that I was able to develop the mindset and skills to pursue these goals.
What has been the single most rewarding experience of your career/studies so far?
I am interning with the Allegheny County Health Department this summer doing enhanced surveillance of hepatitis c among women of reproductive age. I have the opportunity to call these HCV positive women and give them resources around Pittsburgh where they can get additional testing and treatment for themselves and testing for their children if necessary. That has been incredibly rewarding because I can feel the difference I am making by enabling them to improve their health situation and their children’s.
One piece of advice I wished someone had given me when I was starting out in public health was to expect a non-linear path to figuring out your interests and embrace the many opportunities it comes with. Be fluid and know that there is always a connection to be made in anything you pursue.
What do you think is the biggest challenge that the public health field should be focusing on?
The biggest challenge public health should continue to focus on is the efforts in creating more collaborative and transparent relationships among scientists, community members, and governments. Although tremendous progress has been made in fostering cross-collaborative natures in public health, there needs to be more opportunities for interdisciplinary work outside of the historical networks are needed for innovative and effective solutions.