Undergraduate Institution: Oberlin College
Why did you choose the Brown University School of Public Health?
I was looking for a small program with lots of opportunities to build relationships with faculty and other students. Brown’s MPH program offers both of these. I have been able to participate in research, work with on-campus health organizations, and enroll in the courses that are most interesting to me. More than anything, Brown is a great intellectual community with tons of seminars, lectures, and events. I have been able to make connections between public health and other disciplines by attending these events and building interdisciplinary relationships across campus.
What makes Brown’s program different from other programs you considered?
Brown’s program offers lots of flexibility in the curriculum. I decided to pursue the interdisciplinary concentration. This has allowed me to take courses in epidemiology, health policy, medical anthropology, and statistics. Other programs are much more rigid. Looking forward, the breadth of coursework I have been able to take at Brown will prepare me well for my professional goals. I hoped to develop a broad understanding of public health and learn how to address specific research questions. Brown's flexible curriculum has allowed me to do that on my own terms.
What do you enjoy most about your program?
I really love the professors and administrative support from the program. Everyone is very supportive and wants you to succeed. When COVID-19 hit and everything went remote, the MPH program was accommodating and allowed me to complete a lot of the assigned work at my own pace.
What is your academic area of interest and why?
I am interested in health disparities. At Brown, I have explored this by participating in harm reduction research that addresses the opioid epidemic in Rhode Island. I have also used my courses to develop a deeper understanding of health disparities in America. While this is my main interest, I have also picked up knowledge about many other topics in public health. This has helped me to understand current public health issues and how they are related to one another.
What are your postgraduate goals/plans?
I am currently applying to medical school and hope to matriculate in Fall 2021. I hope to enter medical school with public health on my mind and carry my education from Brown throughout my medical training. I want to eventually provide clinical care while engaging with public health research and advocacy. Brown has prepared me well to do both of these things. I believe that I have a better sense of what public health research looks like and I am much more aware of the most pressing health issues of our time.
Providence is a great little city! Having been raised in the Pacific Northwest, I was immediately taken by the New England charm. The winters are long, but Providence is filled with cozy coffee shops and Brown has amazing libraries.
What advice would you give to prospective applicants?
Make sure you enter the program with a good understanding of yourself and what you hope to achieve while a student here. Brown has tons of resources, but it is up to you to use them to meet your goals. What research topics interest you? What methodological approaches (e.g., quantitative or qualitative) align with your way of thinking? I wish that I had reflected on these questions more deeply before I began the program. The answers to these questions will guide you from day 1 of the program. Most of all, stay informed! Graduate school is much more self-directed and self-motivated than undergraduate, so be prepared to do a lot of reading and researching on your own.