Milken Institute School of Public Health
Gillings School of Global Public Health
Our Interview Series is designed to inspire & encourage students to pursue a career in the myriad sectors within global public health.
#1 Why did you decide to pursue a MPH Degree?
After 20 years of clinical practice as a physical therapist, I was ready for a new challenge. I didn’t want to get an advanced clinical degree and I didn’t want an MBA. I wanted to help a greater number of people and to acquire a skill set that would allow me to move beyond clinical care.
#2 What is your primary concentration within the field of Public health?
Older adults are whom I worked with primarily as a clinician. They are an exploding population with an amazing impact on the health systems on the whole. As their needs and use of resources continue to increase, it will impact on the remainder of the population.
#3 Please describe the MPH program and school you attended?
The MPH program at Nova Southeastern University is available either online or in-person. There is a core curriculum and a wide range of electives. A practical field experience and a comprehensive examination are required for graduation.
#4 What do you like best about the MPH program?
The flexibility provided by the online delivery. I was attending school in Florida whilst living in the United Kingdom. If I couldn’t make a lecture because of work, it was archived so that I could attend it at a later date. Exams could be scheduled to accommodate a five-hour time difference.
#5 Are you working while obtaining your Degree? If so, how do you juggle both?
Yes, I worked full time all the way through. It wasn’t easy, particularly with the five-hour time difference. Lectures started at 6pm EST, which meant I started class at 11pm GMT! I would finish at midnight or 1am and then had to be at the office for 8am. I took two classes a semester but reduced to one each summer term. I was able to achieve my goal of getting the degree before I turned 50 though! Having an understanding spouse, no kids, and lots of caffeine got me through.
#6 What do you intend to do with your degree?
My degree has already made a difference in my career. I have a poster being presented at the Physiotherapy UK 2012 conference in Liverpool this weekend about research on falls in older adults. I couldn’t have put that research together without the skills I acquired from the program. I’m actually working back in the states now where I hope to make a difference in the health of the older adult population. I would like to influence both policy and program development to assure older adults of the most productive, active, healthy and dignified lives possible.
#7 Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself developing programs for the older adult population based on sound evidence. I want to be able to demonstrate that by providing good programs we can not only improve quality of lives, we can reduce the costs on the entire health system.
#8 What advice would you give students just considering a MPH degree?
There is no greater reward than knowing you have had an impact on improving peoples’ lives. Whatever your current discipline, the MPH will give you a skill set that will enhance your current practice, even if you don’t become a traditional public health practitioner. Go for it!
Thank you Dean, for sharing and participating in this interview. We wish you the greatest of success as you pursue your career in public health.
That concludes our interview!
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