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Alumni Spotlight for MPH program

Virginia Barnes, MPH '10

Virginia Barnes"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 the conversations about what  the students are learning on our field currently. Since insurance companies are not a traditional employer 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

Jennifer Duong

"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

Larry Bell"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)

Certificate of Appreciation, Mr. Larry R. Bell, Jr., Marriage Family Therapist, The Houston Military Entrance Processing Station wishes to express our sincere appreciation for your selfless support to our staff during our FY 19 Quarterly Training Day. Your support was instrumental in ensuring the success of this event. We are proud to recognize your support of caring for our unit. Your contribution serves as a sterling example for all and reflects great credit upon yourself, Michael E. Debakey, VA Medical Center and have earned the undying gratitude of our Command.

Certificate of Appreciation, Larry R. Bell, Jr., MEDVAMC Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, In recognition and sincerest appreciation of outstanding service to military, veterans & family members during your presentation on Domestic Violence & Stress Management at the Houston MEPS Center to meet quarterly DoD training goals."

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Population Health
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