What inspired you to study public health?
I took a class in undergrad called “Health Controversies in History” where I first learned about epidemiology. We spoke about the early days of epidemiology, some problematic times in history for public health, and the current state of epidemiology and public health. From there, I took an undergrad level epidemiology course, where I solidified my interest in the field and knew I wanted to make a career of that.
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.
I wish someone would have told me that networking and connecting with peers and mentors is so important because the public health/epidemiology world is very small.
What do you think is the biggest challenge that the public health field should be focusing on?
I think the biggest issue that public health should be focusing on is equity – in terms of access to care, health outcomes, and dedicated funding/resources.