Noor Ali, MPH

Vanderbilt University Institute for Medicine and Public Health
Global Heath

What inspired you to study public health?

My mother is an anthropologist, and my father is an internal medicine physician. I grew up seeing two sides of health, and as I got older, I realized that Public Health, like me, is the product of art and science. To be a great Public Health Practitioner, you need the critical and analytical lens that comes with science and the recognition of cultural competency that comes with art. My entire life has been a preparation for me to be a leader in the Public Health field.

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

I love that all the skills I learn in the classroom can be translated into a real-world experience. It makes me feel as if I am really helping my community succeed!


The one piece of advice I wished someone had given me before I started my Public Health journey is that it is important to know your message AND audience. As leaders of our communities, we often only respond to people and do not take the time to check if our message came across accurately. Knowing your message and your audience, one can easily know what to say and how to say it.

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

There are many challenges to focus on because Public Health is finally getting the recognition it deserves. However, one of the biggest challenges Public Health should be focusing on is civic engagement. Unfortunately, most people are not involved in their local, state, or even national elections. It is time to show people just how important it is to know what our elected officials are doing. Furthermore, if the officials are not doing good work, people need to be empowered to run for office. The government can only function as well as what the people want it to. Public Health leaders need to help educate, train and give hope to their communities surrounding civic engagement so that issues that have seemed daunting in the past can be tackled together.