Samraat Sexena, MPH

Emory University Rollins School of Public Health
Behavioral Sciences & Health Education

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

I have several to choose from and it is very hard to narrow it down to just one, so I would like to share the most recent. We had a guest lecturer in one of my classes but I felt uncomfortable with how they presented some of their international research as it related to being culturally competent. Talking with several of my classmates, they made it clear they also felt uncomfortable. It was brought to the professor’s attention who in turn, held a class discussion on cultural competence and took our constructive comments back to the guest lecturer. Not only did our professor take our concerns seriously, she elevated our voices and allowed us to make a difference. Our class stepped up to the plate and I was very proud that we are going to be the public health professionals of the future.

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

I think all too often, people get caught up with large-scale organizations or federal government agencies. These entities are absolutely important, but often, local health departments and other local organizations are overlooked. In many ways, work in local communities is the backbone of public health, and students should be more intentional about gaining that exposure in the field.