Sophia DiOrio, MPH

Mercer University Department of Public Health

What inspired you to study public health? 

My goal is to become a physician, and I am currently in the process of applying to medical school while finishing my MPH degree. My goal to become a physician inspired me to study public health because I believe that public health knowledge and experience will help me provide better care to my patients and my community. I believe that my MPH degree will help me inspire change, empower my community, and strive for health equity.

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

The most rewarding experience of my MPH studies has been writing a grant proposal for a youth gun violence prevention intervention in DeKalb County, GA. Youth gun violence is a major public health concern in DeKalb as homicide is the number one cause of death for ages 15-19 in the county. I was partnered with the Results Kids Club and Results Central to create a grant proposal for their program that involved structured instruction to enhance critical thinking on violence and violence-related experiential activities. This experience has been very rewarding for me because I am working with a real organization for an intervention for my community. I recently met the leaders of the community partnership that I am working with, and they were so grateful for my help. Knowing that my work will have real-world effects has been so meaningful and gratifying.

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

I did my practicum with Dermatology Center of Atlanta where I created a skin cancer education program outside of my normal duties.

What do you hope to accomplish in your career? 

In my career, I hope to provide excellent patient care and form meaningful relationships with my patients and community members. I also hope to improve the health and well-being of my community through preventive measures, health education, and policy initiatives aimed at promoting overall health and preventing disease. I will strive to improve health equity.


One piece of advice I wish someone had given me when I was starting out in public health is to start building relationships with your peers and faculty early. These relationships have made my public health experience so much more gratifying. They have given me so many opportunities for experience and growth in public health. I know that I will cherish these relationship forever and will continue to keep in contact with them.

If you are working, what is your job? 

I am currently working as a Medical Assistant at Dermatology Center of Atlanta while I am applying to medical school.

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