Alyssa Francis

Alyssa Francis


Undergraduate Institution: Drury University
Current Role: Medical Student, Texas Tech University Paul L. Foster School of Medicine

Why did you choose the Brown University School of Public Health?
Brown's ample research opportunities drew me in. The school itself has 13 research centers and is well-connected to the surrounding businesses and hospitals in Providence. I knew attending Brown meant I could conduct meaningful research in my field of choice.

What made Brown's program different from other programs you considered?
Brown's focus on student-directed learning was challenging yet rewarding. The ample research and community connections required each student to work hard to find the right project that fits their goals. However, this process afforded many important connections with professors, community leaders, and researchers - which is why I chose Brown in the first place.

What did you enjoy most about your program?
Our program was super flexible, offering a multitude of opportunities in every field of public health. There were assistantships for government, private-sector, local and global health experiences. You could work with and learn from any population you desire, all with the support and encouragement of the school.

What was your academic area of interest and why?
Prior to starting this program, I worked in a homeless shelter in Dallas, Texas, and gained experience working with mental health and substance abuse populations. To improve care for those with opioid use disorder, my thesis research focused on factors relating to treatment adherence in a local medication-assisted treatment program. I know I’ll continue my work with substance use populations in the future.

How did your program prepare you for your current position/next steps?
My MPH peers and professors showed me that public health researchers are multifaceted. Many of my peers held multiple advanced degrees and had diverse work histories that enabled them to be more innovative and influential researchers, clinicians, and community members. It inspired me to pursue my dream of improving individual and community health through clinical medicine. 

Why Providence?
Coming from the South, I was initially skeptical about living somewhere without an abundance of barbecue and tacos. Every single restaurant, bakery, and coffee shop in Providence has the most scrumptious food. The diversity in Providence makes it a beautiful, delicious city to call home.

What advice would you give to prospective applicants?
Brown's resources extend far beyond the university, reaching deep into the community and surrounding businesses. Brown encourages students to make their own paths, rather than follow in someone else's. In just two years at Brown, I made connections with my peers, professors, and community members that will serve me well throughout my career.

Learn more about Brown's MPH program