Meredith Denney

Meredith Denney, MPH

Vanderbilt University Institute for Medicine and Public Health

What inspired you to study public health?

My background is in psychology, with a particular focus on intimate partner violence research and suicide prevention practices. I also worked in a research lab in cancer clinical trials at a hospital during the pandemic. These wide-ranging experiences all intersected in the public health space. I have always been an advocate for the health of marginalized populations and wanted to learn more about health equity. When I decided it was time to pursue my MPH, I knew public health epidemiology was the best next step in my path as a public health professional.

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

The mentorship I have received throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies have been by far the greatest opportunities for me to learn and grow as a young researcher and professional. I am extremely proud of the research I conducted with the Tennessee Department of Health, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and University of Memphis School of Public Health on the social-structural factors that impact HIV vulnerability among Memphis-based men who have sex with men.

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

Tennessee Department of Health, HIV/STD Surveillance and Prevention – Read about the research I conducted here.

What do you hope to accomplish in your career?

As of May 2023, I have graduated from the MPH program at Vanderbilt University and will continue my research career by way of a doctoral degree at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Department of Health, Behavior, and Society. This opportunity will allow me to marry my passions for public health, psychology, and epidemiology in future research. My long-term goals include working in a governmental capacity to provide actionable practices for public health care, particularly for those in the LGBTQIA+ community.


Collaboration is key in pursuing anything in public health. The field is broad, and expertise abounds throughout connections fostered and maintained. Public health is a service-oriented field, so do not feel like you are imposing by reaching out to prospective members in the field. Many public health professionals enjoy facilitating new connections for students and young professionals.

Current Position June 2023:

Doctoral Student at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Health, Behavior, and Society

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