Devin Valdes, MPH

University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions

What inspired you to study public health? 

What inspired me to study public health was my experience working with non-profit clinics to serve the local community members who lacked stable access to healthcare due to various reasons such as language barriers, being uninsured, or undocumented. Witnessing the impact of providing essential health services to those in need motivated me to pursue a field where I could address and reduce these health disparities on a broader scale.

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

The single most rewarding experience of my career so far has been forming meaningful connections with community members and learning how to better advocate for them. Working closely with diverse populations has deepened my understanding of their unique challenges and needs, reinforcing my commitment to serve alongside these communities and support their health and well-being.

Where did you do your practicum? What was it about? 

I did my practicum as an intern/community health worker at UF HealthStreet. There, I worked as a CHW performing outreach and linking community members to medical and social services, collaborated with community organizations, conducted research with community needs assessment data, and produced sexual health education materials.

What do you hope to accomplish in your career? 

I aspire to obtain my MD/PhD in public health and global health/medicine, aiming to bridge the gap between public health and clinical practice. My goal is to integrate research applications with clinical perspectives, particularly within global health. I am passionate about fostering community-led partnerships to develop sustainable health programs and infrastructure in low-resource and marginalized communities, ensuring long-term improvements in health outcomes.


Starting out in public health, it’s crucial to understand that while it’s emotionally taxing to confront pressing issues, meaningful change takes time, patience, and collaboration. Realize that making a difference, even in small ways, for individuals or communities, is incredibly rewarding and worth the effort. Moreover, recognizing that you can begin making an impact at any age or stage of your career is empowering. It’s essential to hold onto hope, not as a naive belief, but as a driving force that guides us through challenges and keeps us focused on our purpose with resilience.

If you are working, what is your job? 

I will be transitioning to a Clinical Research Coordinator role for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in the department of Pediatric Health Equity. I am currently working as a High Impact Prevention Intern for WellFlorida and a Research Assistant for the UF Sensory Development Lab

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