Shantal Hover, MPH ('14)
I was inspired to pursue an MPH because of the ability it gave me to combine my undergraduate training in biological sciences with my desire to work with people. I felt a passion to promote and protect the wellness of people and communities around the world, and getting an MPH was the first step.
- The caring and involved professors and staff
- Close connection and frequent collaboration with the local Health Department
- The Infectious Disease concentration
- A combination of laboratory research opportunities and public health education opportunities
The Public Health Association was a great resource for students and fostered a sense of community within the program. I also really enjoyed the practicum/capstone project portion of the MPH because it gives students time to tackle a large public health project. During this time students are able to practice public health in the community and begin to get a sense of future work in this field.
I currently work for the CDC as a Public Health Associate Fellow. PHAP fellows do 1 year rotations in different parts of public health all around the country. Some associates are stationed at local or state health departments, others in NGOs or at universities. I am currently stationed at the San Luis Obispo County Health Department in California where I work in Injury Prevention. Within this roll the majority of my responsibilities are direct health education with the community. This direct education ranges from bicycle and pedestrian safety for children to child passenger safety for adults. I also work as the evaluation lead on a climate change and health project in the community called OutsideIn-SLO (San Luis Obispo).
The MPH degree gave me an essential set of skills in public health. These skills can be applied in many different ways, across different projects and assignments in the field. Additionally, the MPH degree exposed me to a variety of research, both in the lab and in the community. Overall, it was absolutely worth the time and effort and I highly suggest young professionals entering public health to consider this degree.
Be open to the many different paths in public health. Become a public health generalist first; master your skills such as evaluation and data analysis so that you can effectively apply them across the field. Whether it is educating and installing car seats for a homeless mom, or evaluating the effectiveness of a climate change and health curriculum, learn to adapt and jump into your passion and project. This is a very rewarding career path!