Prospective Students : Why Choose UM?

Daphney Dorcius

MPH, Health Promotion and Communication, Minority Health and Health Disparities

In one sentence, what is public health to you?

Public health is the interdisciplinary science that focuses on improving and promoting the complete health (mental, physical, behavioral) of individuals and communities.

What has been the single most rewarding experience of your career/studies so far?

Working on projects with Dr. Erin Kobetz early on in my degree has been an unparalleled experience. I was given the opportunity to help the Haitian community by enthusiastically working on interventions aimed at decreasing the burden of colorectal and cervical cancer. I was able to apply on the field concepts that I learned inside the classroom, and, most importantly, to help my brothers and sisters from Haiti.

What is the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were starting out in public health?

I would say start to seriously brainstorm about your capstone project as soon as you start your degree; do not wait. Use the numerous volunteering opportunities and take advantage of the expertise and current research of faculty. The capstone should not only be a project required to graduate but a program that can be implemented permanently to help the communities that are in need. Use this opportunity to make a change.

What do you think is the biggest challenge that the public health field should be focusing on?

Public health focus should shift toward providing accessible and affordable resources for the population being educated to make healthier choices. A lot of effort is being put in increasing awareness about health, but the infrastructures in numerous communities are not present. The scarcity of affordable resources is a barrier preventing individuals to apply what they learn. Therefore, increasing the access to healthier food markets in poor communities would be of utmost importance to help individuals improve their diet and break from the cycle of obesity and diabetes.

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