Atia Khan, MPH candidate

University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions

What inspired you to study public health? 

I was inspired by what I saw as a gap in health/biostatistical communication with the public, especially after the onset of the COVID pandemic. I wanted to learn more about health statistical methodology and science communication so I could use those skills to bridge the gap between public health policy+research and the general population.

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

I took an assessment and surveillance course in the summer of 2023, and it was probably one of the hardest courses I have taken. It forced me to think beyond what we are taught as public health students as being the “right answer” to many common public health issues in communities around us, and to engage more deeply with the true needs of the communities we serve. It was a hard lesson that sometimes the solution that works best for a community is not what we might expect, but it was valuable to practice building health assessments for cities and counties, especially with an instructor who actively worked in the field doing this kind of work. I learned a lot of great skills, like working within the framework of a limited budget and collaborating with many different kind of stakeholders who interact with the communities we are hoping to reach. As a student of primarily biostatistics, this was a great class that demonstrated what is entailed in the public health work we want to do.

What do you hope to accomplish in your career? 

I hope to advocate for oral health equity and use my statistic background and public health education to serve my community in assessing oral health needs and developing solutions to address these needs.


Don’t assume that everyone who is a “professional” is necessarily an expert; everyone has expertise in something, and many people who are community experts are not necessarily people who are highly educated or have fancy titles.