What inspired you to study public health?
I participated in University of Michigan’s Future Public Health Leaders Program (FPHLP) in the summer of 2015 and it opened my eyes to the various avenues in public health! I interned at Joy-Southfield Community Development Corporation (J-SCDC) and became more cognizant of the effects of disparities on individuals and their health outcomes. Understanding and positively impacting issues of equity regarding access, healthy behaviors and preventative care, and the correlation to health disparities fuels my interest and passion for the elimination of these disparities. This experience was instrumental in me continuing my education in public health at UM.
What has been the single most rewarding experience of your career/studies so far?
My most rewarding experience was when I, along with the Public Health Action Support Team (PHAST), participated in a deployment to the U.S. Virgin Islands by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to complete a Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER). A CASPER is an epidemiological technique designed to provide quick household based information to assess a hurricane. St. Croix was negatively impacted by Hurricanes Maria and Irma and I was fortunate to assist in recovery efforts. Collecting the data from the CASPER with the local Virgin Island nurses enabled the CDC to use that information to rapidly identify basic needs to prioritize their response. distribution of resources in this relief allowed me to see the impact that natural disasters have on communities of color and in that moment, I knew I was serving as a supporter and advocate for the needs and concerns of the Caribbean islanders through emergency response.
What is the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were starting out in public health?
I wish someone would have told me that public health is multifaceted, so explore the various avenues!
What do you think is the biggest challenge that the public health field should be focusing on?
Public health should definitely be focusing on reducing the health disparities that negatively impact communities of color worldwide!!