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Student Spotlight

In this student spotlight, we wanted to recognize the Master of Public Health (MPH) students that served as the Public Health Student Association’s (PHSA) leadership board during the fall 2021 term. This group of MPH students served as the first leadership board and really kick-started the entire initiative. The MPH program is so grateful for their many efforts. 

These student leaders included Amrita Ahuja, Tamunoseledia (Tammy) Brown, Janet Chan, and Archana Vasanth Kumar. Although, each of these students took a different path to the MPH program all recognized the importance and benefits that come with earning an MPH.

For Ms. Vasanth Kumar, PHSA event coordinator and former dental student, she recognized her growing interest in public health dentistry and educating communities on the prevention and treatment of oral health and in turn enrolled into the MPH program. Her goal after obtaining her MPH is to work in the research community focusing on public health dentistry. Ms. Ahuja, PHSA co-chair, came from a clinical background. Here she saw how many of her patients had roadblocks to accessing healthcare. Ms. Ahuja became interesting in obtaining an MPH to better understand how one’s zip code impacts their health behaviors and outcomes.  

Like Ms. Ahuja, Ms. Chan, PHSA co-chair, saw gaps in the healthcare system. Before enrolling into the MPH Program, Ms. Chan was a chief medical scribe in an emergency department and encountered this issue first-hand every day at work. Now, it is her hope that she will be able to use what she has learned within the program to implement public health programs that will address health inequities in our West Baltimore community. Finally, the PHSA secretary/treasurer, is an internationally trained Medical Doctor who enrolled in the program to connect her clinical background with academic research in public health. After Ms. Brown completes her MPH, she is interested in using her newly acquired skills in epidemiology with a focus on non-communicable disease-related research.  

Before this group of students passed the PHSA leadership on to the next group of leaders, we asked them to share a few tips that they learned while enrolled in the MPH Program. Their first tip was that each student needs to find a healthy balance between their school demands and other aspects of life. The program will keep you busy but remember to take time for yourself. Get involved with organizations within the local community and on campus. The PHSA is a great place to start, and it will also help you build your professional network. You will have opportunities to engage with University of Maryland School of Medicine faculty and MPH Program alumni outside a classroom setting. Another tip they shared was that it is okay to make mistakes. You are going to make them; but be sure to learn from those mistakes.