Chris Heiss


Undergraduate Institution: Dartmouth College
Current Role: Health Policy Director, Nurse-Family Partnership

Why did you choose the Brown University School of Public Health?
One reason I chose Brown was for the intimacy of the program and the ability to interact with students and faculty across the public health programs. I frequently worked with PhD students in class, and professors were always happy to take time to chat with me, even just about interesting news or career topics.

What made Brown's program different from other programs you considered?
The flexibility of Brown's program, including the ability to apply classes from other departments to the major (e.g., taking classes on health economics and public policy on the main campus to round out my interest in health policy) and structure a program that best applied to the work that I wanted to do.

What did you enjoy most about your program?
My interactions with classmates and professors made the MPH at Brown a very rewarding experience. Brown Public Health students and professors come from so many different walks of life, and have amazing stories to tell that have sometimes surprising, but always illuminating, connections to public health.

What was your academic area of interest and why?
I was a part-time MPH student working in project management and policy in a local health insurance company, so I focused on health policy to complement my work. However, Brown also gave me the flexibility to apply that health policy knowledge to other areas of interest - my masters thesis used statistical programming skills that I learned at Brown to analyze health survey data on military veterans.

How did your program prepare you for your current position/next steps?
Even before finishing my degree, I got a job at a national non-profit focused exclusively on health policy issues, and I believe my work at Brown and the connections I made in the public health program were a big part of the reason I was able to make the jump. I continue to refer back to topics I learned at Brown on a weekly basis in my current health policy work.

What did you enjoy most about Providence?
Walking along the downtown canal system between my work and school, particularly during seasons with WaterFire. The food culture in Providence is also amazing!

What advice would you give to prospective applicants?
When looking for a program in public health, be sure to take into account the breadth of careers for which public health training prepares you. "Health in all policies" is not just a slogan, and you want to make sure that the program you choose helps you apply your public health knowledge anywhere. Brown is one of those programs.

Learn more about Brown's MPH program