What inspired you to study public health?
Advocating for access to mental health care inspired me to study public health. Mental health is still a highly stigmatized aspect of healthcare and I wanted to be a part of changing that. As an Indian American woman, I have seen the detrimental impact the lack of discourse about mental health has in my community. By developing educational programs, counseling, and interventions, I believe that as a public health professional I will be able to help immigrant communities and other communities of color address mental health concerns and seek appropriate support.
What has been the single most rewarding experience of your career/studies so far?
I have been working with Wayne State University as a Domestic Violence Advocate in their Community Advocacy Project. It is so humbling to be witness to the strength and resilience that domestic violence survivors have. Many of them, even after horrifying experiences with their abuser, continue to live their lives, day-by-day with a smile on their face. This experience is rewarding as a learning experience and as a deep-rooted connection to the community. Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine, the number of domestic violence cases has multiplied. I am thankful to the team at the Community Advocacy Project for taking charge and doing what they can to help people in our own local community. It is rewarding to see my survivor get excited about work, and finding a new and safe place to live. These are often things that many people take for granted, and this job has given me the purpose and the perspective that I hope to embody in my advocacy and clinical work.
Imposter syndrome was so real and overwhelming when I started my MPH. Don’t let the cool projects or research that other people have done make you feel like you aren’t doing enough. Follow your path, and remind yourself that you belong here. Public Health is for everyone, just take your time and find what you are truly passionate about.
What do you think is the biggest challenge that the public health field should be focusing on?
Diversity, equity, and inclusion. The field of public health should be focusing on social justice issues that many marginalized and underrepresented communities are facing in our country. On a systematic level, social injustices directly impact their access and ability to get healthy and maintain it. Racism is a public health issue, the stressors of racism and discrimination take a toll on the health of many marginalized communities.