MegAnn Smith, PhD Candidate

University of Maryland School of Public Health
Behavioral and Community Health

What inspired you to study public health? 

I was inspired to study public health because I was interested in differential access to care and how that impacted individual health outcomes. In my pre-dental track in undergrad, I continuously saw patients who had challenges with their oral health that were so clearly due to variables outside of their influence. I wanted to make a difference in these systems rather than just continuing to address the acute issues “downstream”.

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

I’ve been able to mentor a number of students in my time as a Masters and now Doctoral students and share with them my love for public health and my transition from direct care to systems thinking. I think in this small way I’ve been able to show upcoming professionals that there are more career paths than they may realize and I’ve seen many of them blossom after better aligning their inner values with their career aspirations.

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

In my MPH program, I did my practicum at an organization called Casa de Salud where I was able to assist in developing their reporting mechanisms for a County-wide access to care report.

What do you hope to accomplish in your career? 

I hope to be able to continue to mentor students and spread the love of public health and dismantling systems of oppression.


Don’t be afraid to be a generalist. There are plenty of ways to gain specific skills so dabble in whatever you feel most passionate about and the skills will come.

If you are working, what is your job? 

Graduate Fellow for the Office of Public Health Practice & Community Engagement at the University of Maryland School of Public Health

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