Ma. Irene N. Quilantang, MA

PhD in Behavioral and Social Health Sciences ’25


Undergraduate Institution: University of the Philippines - Manila
Major: Behavioral Sciences

Graduate Institution: University of the Philippines - Diliman
Major: Psychology (Clinical)

Why did you choose the Brown University School of Public Health?
The main reason I chose the Brown University School of Public Health is because it has a strong partnership with the University of the Philippines through the NIH-Fogarty Program, and has been training Filipino scholars over the past decades with the goal of improving health outcomes in the Philippines. I was also drawn by the opportunity to get mentored by Filipino-American faculty members and colleagues with the Philippine Health Initiative for Research, Service, and Training who I met when I first visited Brown as an NIH Fellow in 2018.

What makes Brown’s program different from other programs you considered?
With the university’s open curriculum, Global Public Health students get to explore fields outside of their program which facilitates interdisciplinary learning that is vital in translating science into service. The Global Public Health program also provides students with an eight-week international experience, which is a great opportunity to “learn global public health by doing global public health.”

What do you enjoy most about your program?
I really enjoy the company of my fellow Global Public Health students and our faculty and staff.  It is so inspiring to be surrounded by people with a wealth of knowledge and experience in community work across the world who are supportive of my personal and academic endeavors. 

What is your academic area of interest and why?
I am interested in HIV, violence against children, and mental health. These are growing concerns in the Philippines, and I want to help address them by developing and implementing evidence-based and culturally sensitive intervention programs. 

What are your postgraduate goals/plans?
I plan to pursue further education and to continue serving underprivileged communities in the Philippines as an academician and public health professional after I finish my degree.

Why Providence?
Providence is an ideal place to study and practice public health because of the strong partnership between the Brown University School of Public Health and the Rhode Island Department of Health. The city also offers a lot of things that you can enjoy during your free time—good food, cultural events, history, architecture, museums, and public art. Lastly, it is close to Boston and New York so it is easy to go on a weekend trip to these cities if you want to take a break from the university.  

What advice would you give to prospective applicants?
Your graduate program will be more enjoyable and manageable if you are working on something that is of interest to you. If you do not know yet what it is you want to study, that is okay too. Reach out to faculty members or students to inquire about their program and their experience undertaking it and see if you want to embark on the same journey. Once admitted in a program, make sure to find people who are rooting for you to succeed, and who will help you navigate through the highs and lows of grad school. If you have any inquiries about the Master of Science in Global Public Health program or about graduate school in general, reach out to me. I would be glad to help you in any way I can.