Public health is the identification and prevention of adverse health behaviors and outcomes within a population with a broad, systems-based perspective.
The ASPPH fellowship program offered me the opportunity to work in a position that challenged my particular skill set, and also allowed me to become proficient in many new areas of public health.
I have been working as a BRFSS Data Analyst in the Respiratory Health Division at the National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health. My research focuses on assessing work-related asthma using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Asthma Call-back Survey. In particular, I assessed how certain methodology changes to the Asthma Call-back Survey affected the estimated proportion of work-related asthma. I also evaluated the agreement between two asthma classification methods, current and active asthma.
The most rewarding experience during my ASPPH fellowship has been transitioning into a role where fellow colleagues have begun seeking advice and expertise from me regarding topics within my area of research.
One piece of advice I wish someone had given me when starting out in public health is that it’s good to have a plan, but sometimes, through exploration and an open mind, many new and exciting pathways open up, and it’s ok to deviate from that plan as you find your true passion.
Although, the public health field is faced with numerous challenges, I believe addressing health literacy among our leaders and communities will aid in achieving progress among many of the most important public health topics.