Alison Simmons



Undergraduate Institution: Bates College
Current Role: Opioid Surveillance Coordinator, Allegheny County Health Department

Why did you choose the Brown University School of Public Health?
I chose Brown after visiting the school and feeling instantly welcome. The school has a supportive, collaborative atmosphere between the administration, faculty, and students. What initially drew me to Brown was the small program size and the numerous opportunities to collaborate with professors, fellow students, and members of the community.

What made Brown’s program different from other programs you considered?
The opportunities available to students at Brown University set it apart from the other programs and schools I considered. While at Brown, I was able to intern at the Rhode Island Department of Health, serve as a teaching assistant, collaborate with a professor on research projects, and present at a national conference.

What did you enjoy most about your program?
The most enjoyable aspect of my program was learning with and from diverse individuals with various levels of education, experiences, and backgrounds. As a master's student, I was able to learn from and engage in thought provoking discussions with fellow master's students, undergraduates, doctoral students, and clinical professionals.

What was your academic area of interest and why?
My academic areas of study broadly covered infectious diseases and maternal and child health. My areas of interest have developed through my study of how societal structures influence individuals' health care access as well as my academic background in microbiology.

How did your program prepare you for your current position/next steps?
Brown University provided me with practical, research, and teaching experiences which more than adequately prepared me for my current position at a local health department and for my future plans to enroll in a PhD program. Brown allows exploration in all areas of public health through hands-on experiences and prepares its students for applied public health, clinical, and academic positions.

What did you enjoy most about Providence?
Specifically in regard to Brown, I enjoyed the varied lecturers I was able to attend on campus - from Jeb Bush to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to Roxane Gay. Providence has an amazing restaurant scene as well as innovative and welcoming community events including Doors Open Rhode Island, Water Fire, and various street festivals.

What advice would you give to prospective applicants?
I strongly recommend visiting the schools you are considering, if possible, and at a minimum, speak with current students about the environment and opportunities offered within each program.

Learn more about Brown's MPH program