Where is your Fellowship?
I spend half my time at the Milwaukee Health Department in 2-month rotations throughout the divisions, and half my time at the Center for Urban Population Health.
What were you up to prior to your Fellowship?
I was finishing my MPH at the University of Minnesota, focusing on global environmental health and infectious disease. Prior to that, I was an AmeriCorps volunteer in Washington, D.C.
What inspired you to take the Fellowship route rather than a different type of job/school/etc.?
My interests are far too broad to settle on a particular job. The Fellowship seemed like the ideal combination of academia, practical work experience, and community-based service.
What are your main areas of interest within public health?
I love global health, especially in the context of infectious disease.
What is one thing (or many!) you are working on right now in your fellowship?
At the Milwaukee Health Department, I’m currently working with the Milwaukee Consortium for Hmong Health—a community-academic partnership organization—to develop a community needs assessment for the Milwaukee Hmong community. The goal is to identify issues affecting the Hmong community so that the Consortium can integrate related resources into its breast and cervical cancer screening programs.
At the Center for Urban Population Health, I’m involved with a project examining the effect of broad, community-wide interventions (microfinance and sustainable agriculture) on health, specifically HIV risk. This project is underway in rural Malawi and aims to close some of the gap between NGO programming and rigorous evaluation research. Recently, two members of the field team visited Milwaukee (and the U.S.) for the first time. We had a fantastic time sharing our cultures and gleefully examining Google Earth’s ability to create maps with hut-level detail—quite useful for finding the thousands of households involved in the study.
Do you have any advice for those interested in the Fellowship?
Though I’m new at this Fellowship thing, I can already see that I’m going to get experience in a lot of areas. If you’re like me and have a lot of interests, you can’t go wrong with the Fellowship pathway.
Who is one of the coolest public health people you’ve met?
Perhaps Ram Krishnan, a rainwater harvesting expert based in Minnesota who works in India. I’m not sure if he considers his work public health, but making clean water accessible and available to entire communities certainly qualifies as public health.
What is one public health-related activity in your community that you are proud about?
I learn about groundbreaking public health activities in Milwaukee daily. This city is pretty neat in that regard. I’m especially impressed by the academic-community partnerships everywhere. One of the projects I work on at CUPH involves a Community Advisory Board (CAB) that meets to interpret data from the statewide Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW). The CAB talks about what the data means to them and how to best communicate the data to their communities. Next up: the CAB will figure out what types of action it wants to take to respond to the data.
What is one public health achievement you would like to see in the next 25 years?
Simple. A combination TB/malaria/HIV vaccine and a method of delivering this vaccine to people in every corner of the world, especially in failed states. I would also like to see infrastructure for clean water delivery to every community worldwide.