I stayed in the Kansas City region, and in fact, continue living and working in Wyandotte County, where KUMC is located! I work for the Wyandotte County Health Department coordinating a community coalition called Healthy Communities Wyandotte. The coalition was formed as a response to the 2009 Kansas County Health Rankings report, which listed Wyandotte County as having the worst health in the state. Within the coalition, I coordinate a team working to increase healthy food access in the county, another team that focuses on improving county educational outcomes, and am coordinating the launch of a new team, the Community Action Team for Wyandotte County's Fetal Infant Mortality Review. I love serving my community at the local government level because there is so much variety in what we do, and always something new to learn.
I entered the MPH program with a deep commitment to community work and health equity, and find the coursework I took in the program essential to my ability to effectively translate research to action. Working within a coalition provides the opportunity to be at the cutting edge of community health improvement work. I am a 2015 fellow in the National Leadership Academy for Public Health, and am able to see how cross-sectoral work is a central part of public health's future. Current and future students, you will have so many opportunities in the program to learn from your fellow students and the KUMC faculty. Engage with them to learn outside of your traditional interests - never assume that the part of public health they focus on doesn't apply to your future career, because it very well may!
"I'm currently living in the Chicagoland suburbs and working as a Researcher for Cerner Corporation. My team, the Advocate Cerner Collaboration, is a research and development unit specializing in population health analytics and predictive algorithms. Population health is a very interesting space where public health and health care intersect, and it's a quickly growing field in the industry.
In my role, I'm able to bring my background in health disparities, research study design, program evaluation, and data management to support our work. I also support research initiatives by conducting literature reviews, analyzing data, and preparing manuscripts for publication. Soon, I'll be overseeing an effectiveness trial to test our newest predictive algorithm in a live hospital setting.
My experience in the MPH program gave me a solid foundation in the principles of public health and research. Moreover, the relationships I formed with peers and mentors prepared me to build professional networks and showed me that learning continues long after formal schooling. Even now, I seek out skill development through online coursework and participate in professional organizations to keep my knowledge current and relevant. If you're interested in pursuing this degree, I encourage you to learn as much as you can from the exceptional professors and students in this program, not only inside the classroom but outside as well."
"I'm the acting branch chief for strategic information at the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), Uganda. I completed my MPH in 2004 when there were no concentrations but my MPH prepared me with the basics in epidemiology, statistics and public health framework/administration knowledge that I use every day. Most importantly, it taught me the value of a good working environment by working for wonderful advisors and supervisors and how to work within a team because I worked with great classmates and coworkers as part of my research project. I came in completely green and unsure of myself; however, KUSM-Wichita inspired in me a love of public health. I would have failed in almost any other place but the nurturing environment of KUSM-Wichita is the primary reason I have accomplished my dreams of getting a PhD in Epidemiology and working for the CDC in Africa as well as my current location in Uganda.
My suggestions for a student obtaining a concentration in epidemiology is to learn about teamwork, project management and take as many skills building courses in lieu of survey courses. It's better to learn epidemiology methods than facts about infectious diseases or chronic diseases. Also, try to work with Dr. Elizabeth Ablah, if possible - you will learn something from her."