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Alumni Spotlight for MPH program

Please help us to celebrate the accomplishments of our Master of Public Health Alumni!

Virginia Barnes, MPH '10

"I am the Director of Blue Health Initiatives at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. My role within the company is to work on initiatives that focus on improving long-term health outcomes for Kansans through a community and population health focus.

I had the opportunity to receive a general public ff MPH in 2010, which has served me very well. My degree and work experience has allowed for a broad array of work experiences across the public health field, including infectious disease, surveillance, preparedness, immunization, environmental health, and community health. I am able to draw from my education and background to help shape the initiatives that we support here at Blue Cross. I have truly enjoyed the opportunity to have KU-MPH students intern for me at Blue Cross.

It is great to get their fresh perspective on the work that we are doing, to pass on the knowledge I have gained over the past ten years, and to have conversations about what the students are learning on our field currently. Since insurance companies are not traditional employers for public health, it is exciting to introduce the students to a career opportunity that they may not have considered an option.

I will start my term on the KPHA Board of Directors in January 2019. I have served on the Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods Leadership Team since 2016. I was Chair in 2018 and currently I am serving as Past Chair. I have also been serving on the KU-MPH External Advisory Board, the Kansas Health Foundation's Kansas Healthy Food Initiative Advisory Board and KHF's Healthy Communities Initiative Advisory Committee."

Jennifer Duong, MPH '15

"I currently work at KUSM-W Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology as a Department Manager and Senior Research Associate.

I use much of my training in public health administration, as well as the skills I learned from my financial and human resource management classes in my role as an administrator. While wearing my research hat, I still continue to use the skills I learn from my biostatistics and epidemiology courses. When we are designing health interventions, I am able to apply knowledge from my cultural competency and social behavioral health classes. I use my degree and training every day.

I'm not afraid to seek out answers and ask questions. Much of my work is investigative-I am constantly seeking out an answer! I enjoyed working on my capstone with Dr. Lisette Jacobson, it taught me how difficult health program implementation can be, and the struggles of those working to improve the health of entire communities! So I know that in my every day role, changes do not happen overnight. The program taught me to create relationships with others, and to engage with stakeholders. Additionally, I gained a broader insight as to how social determinants of health really impact our community."

Larry Bell Jr., MPH '18

"I work at Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, TX as a Marriage and Family Therapist. I use public health principles, concepts, and skills to understand and navigate the many internal and external systems at the VA and to provide quality patient care.

The training in the KU-MPH program equipped me with skills to recognize how quality patient care is the result of intentional collaboration and communication between and within health care systems. It is additionally the result of intentional collaboration and communication between communities, towns, cities, and municipalities with local and established health care systems.

Here are some of my achievements: VA Representative, Veterans Consumer Advisory Council (VCAC)."

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