Maggie Pustinger

Maggie Pustinger

MPH, Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences with a Social Determinants of Health Certificate, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health

What inspired you to study public health?

Growing up around countless doctors, nurses and other medical professionals allowed me to see many of the gaps in our health and healthcare system. I wanted to be able to make a change in disease prevention on a larger scale and to help others make informed decisions about their own health choices.

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

My entire time at Emory has been incredibly rewarding. In my job, in the classroom, and in my community I am able to put my public health skills to work. I am able to directly apply to skills I learn in the classroom to my work with Emory Centers for Public Health Training and Technical Assistance. Having such a hands-on experience from day one has shaped my interests and solidified my passion for public health.

Advice:

No opportunity is a bad opportunity. Public health is multifaceted, you’ll never be able to experience it all. Worst case, saying yes to an opportunity that is slightly outside your range of interests will help you learn what you don’t want to do and will add skills to your resume. Best case, you might find something that you really love that you never even considered!

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

I think health literacy and trust in healthcare systems are huge. So many people don’t trust healthcare providers, don’t fully understand their medical diagnosis, etc. and that leads to making uninformed or no decision at all. Lack of trust, low health literacy, and lack of access to care result in poor health outcomes and preventable diseases. Chronic diseases are the top cause of morbidity and mortality, and chronic disease is preventable. If we focused more on improving our healthcare system so that the recipients of care felt more comfortable and had better access there would be immense improvements in health outcomes.