Andrea McGowan, MPH

University of Michigan School of Public Health
Nutritional Sciences

In one sentence, what is public health to you?

Public Health is the recognition that solving our nations health crises require holistic, contextual, and comprehensive approaches executed by interdisciplinary teams.

What inspired you to study public health?

I am inspired to study public health because I believe that understanding population health requires a big perspective that you can’t find in clinical medicine alone. I believe it is imperative for healthcare providers to have this perspective in order to treat patients effectively and to solve larger population health issues.

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

The most rewarding experience I have had in my career was teaching nutrition education classes to SNAP qualifying individuals. It was refreshing to hear their perspectives, gave me a better understanding of the contextual elements of nutritional science, and helped me learn more about systemic issues that prevent individuals from having adequate nutrition.


I would recommend gathering as many diverse experiences as possible, while focusing on gaining tangible skills from these. In order to make yourself an asset in the public health field, diverse experiences and unique skillsets are necessary.

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

Institutional changes and policy-based interventions to uproot systemic racism in population health.