What inspired you to apply for an ASPPH fellowship program?
I applied to the ASPPH fellowship program because I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to build upon the knowledge and skills I had acquired as an MPH student. The program has provided me with a unique experience in which I have been able to learn how public health can inform programs and policies at the federal level, thereby improving people’s lives and reducing the burden of disease on a national and global scale. On a more personal level, I applied for the ASSPH fellowship at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Office of Emergency Medical Services (NHTSA-OEMS) because I have a strong interest in the intersection of emergency medical services (EMS) and public health. Having also worked for several years as an EMT at the local level, I wanted to learn about EMS systems development and research at the national level.
What major project have you had an opportunity to work on during your ASPPH fellowship?
In an attempt to increase awareness of the value and uniqueness of EMS data, I am currently in the process of creating several injury and emergency care data dashboard visualizations with Tableau software © 2003-2015. These dashboards are populated with data from the National EMS Database, a repository of more than 56 million EMS activations submitted by 48 U.S. States and Territories, which is publicly available for original research and analysis. This project has provided me with the opportunity to learn how to use computer software to present a large amount of data in a meaningful way for the general public, the EMS community, and public health professionals.
What has been the most rewarding experience during your ASPPH fellowship so far?
I had the opportunity to attend an advertising planning meeting at the White House for the “Stop the Bleed” campaign, a presidential initiative that is focused on building community resilience through empowering bystanders to provide initial emergency care until professionally trained healthcare providers arrive. Attending the meeting provided me with the opportunity to meet several advertising executives from various private and non-for-profit companies and to experience how cooperation between the federal government and the private sector can promote community resilience and public health.
What is the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were starting out in public health?
Having focused primarily on quantitative measurement and evaluation (M&E) during my MPH studies, I wish someone would have suggested that I broaden my public health coursework and skill development. Although my M&E concentration has been extremely valuable during my fellowship, I have recognized that a solid understanding of policy and qualitative research methods is necessary to be an effective public health professional.
What do you think is the biggest challenge that the public health field should be focusing on?
I am particularly concerned about the exponential increase in road traffic crash (RTC) deaths occurring in low and middle income countries. The CDC estimates that by the year 2030 RTCs will become the fifth leading cause of death globally. As urbanization and motorization continues to increase in parts of the world where there is a lack of modern transportation infrastructure and of traffic safety policy, education and culture, there is a great opportunity for public health professionals to reduce the burden of road traffic crash morbidity and mortality.