Mitchell Blount, MPH ('16)
Public Health Advisor and Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Fellow
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
I had volunteered and worked in public health without really knowing that it had a name, and that there was a whole career/education path for it. I knew I was meant to impact the lives of people’s health and well-being, just not in the clinical setting. Acquiring my MPH was my way of doing just that.
Currently, I serve as a Public Health Advisor and ORISE Fellow for the OutbreakNet Enhanced Program at the CDC. The program is coordinated by the Capacity and Implementation Team within the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Disease. I, along with my team, am responsible for the management of 26 state and local health departments of whom our program provides additional support and epidemiologic capacity. I coordinate and provide administrative and logistical support, engage with program participants, staff, key stakeholders, and community leaders, as well as collect, manage, and analyze metrics data to evaluate outbreak response activities and identify gaps in processes from the sites for improvements.
Being in the MPH program helped me to develop and improve my social skills, communication to and writing for the public, data collection and analyses, and being a well-rounded public health practitioner. The skills and lessons learned made me more comfortable in my abilities, and therefore, more capable to provide the best support and expertise I can to the people and organizations we provide service to.
Be a well-rounded practitioner. Be sure to really learn, understand, and practice the fundamentals and foundation of public health. Be very clear and honest with yourself about what level of public health you want to work in: non-profit, local, state, federal, international, etc. They are each different in the way they are structured and what they require of you. Each environment has its own, different social culture, and one place may better suit you than the next. But most importantly, as my Mom would always tell me, “Enjoy the journey.” Find your passion and make it your purpose!