Yve Francois, MPH

Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
Sexuality, Sexual and Reproductive Health

What inspired you to study public health?

I created my own major in college to better understand our healthcare system. I wanted to explore why people of differing backgrounds have different outcomes for the same diseases. Along the journey, I took classes in various disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, and epidemiology while working as a Collegiate Health Service Corp volunteer, which taught health lessons at community partnerships. I was very intentional in searching for masters programs that would allow me to further explore my interests in an interdisciplinary way. I saw the advise of my mentors and all my favorite people had ‘MPH’ after their name. I googled what the letters meant and had the biggest aha moment of undergrad. One long application process later, I am at my dream program studying the intersections of community and reproductive health. I love public health!

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

The single most rewarding thing would have to be my practicum thus far! It can be difficult to connect with our population but when you see familiar faces and learn names; you get to light up someone else’s life! Everyday I feel like I am making a difference 🙂


It’s okay to not know and be surprised as you learn! You will never be the expert and you should not expect yourself to know who you will be at the end of your MPH journey. Be ready to pivot and embrace the learning process.

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

Understanding how racial disparities affect health outcomes is one of the most important factors to dismantling the current health care system and rebuilding a more equitable system! This is particularly important for improving maternal mortality. People should not be dying when they are bringing life into the world.