Denisonians in Health Professions: Public Health

Denisonians in health professions: public - omar-almudallal-225x300.png image #0Name: Omar Almudallal
Denison Graduation Year: 2017
Denison Major: Biology
Graduate/Professional School: pursuing a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at Case Western Reserve University, class of 2019
Contact me: almuda_o1@denison.edu

What is the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content has most engaged you?
I am interested in health promotion and disease prevention.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
The connections that Case offers in the Cleveland area really impacted my decision.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
I didn’t do that well in some science classes but I just kept my head down and worked hard.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
I plan on getting my PharmD and an MBA and working for a pharmaceutical company.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
Make sure to look at all your options and be open to new things.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Physician

Denisonians in health professions: physician - katelyn-benson-255x300.png image #0Name: Katelyn Benson
Denison Graduation Year: 2016
Denison Major: Biology
Graduate/Professional School: pursuing a MD (class of 2022) and has completed a Master of Public Health (MPH) at the University of Buffalo
Contact me: benson_k2@denison.edu

What was the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content most engaged you?
In graduate school for public health, I studied health behavior and community health. I was most engaged in linking homeless populations in Buffalo, NY to health care, as well as pilot study that integrated behavioral health and primary care services. I was excited to study the sociocultural factors that influence decisions surrounding wellness and healthcare. Next, I will begin medical school.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
A number of factors influenced my application decisions, but a few standout factors most impacted my experience in school. These were location and faculty interest. My graduate program was smaller, which allowed faculty to dedicate ample time to student interests. It was great to match with a faculty advisor who had similar research interests and extensive experience in the field. Location is particularly important in public health because of the practical field work tied to the degree. In Buffalo, local agencies lead essential public health programs that students are able to work within.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
Finding my specific passion was the biggest challenge I faced during my two years masters degree. When I started, I was interested in health care access and mental health. I found that these two areas are entirely too broad. To narrow my focus, I got involved in a couple different projects right from the start. From there, I was able to determine which aspects of the work sparked my interest and aligned best with my career goals. For me, this was direct communication with study participants and community members. For others, it may be more data analysis or public policy oriented.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
I will be starting medical school soon. Upon graduation, I hope to practice medicine in a primary care field while maintaining a role in health care access for vulnerable populations.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
If you are considering a career in public health, it is important to realize that it is an enormous field. Take time to consider your strengths and read about the various disciplines to see what might be right for you. From health services administration to infectious outbreak investigation, there is a specialty for anyone who wants to play a role in improving general health and wellbeing.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Public Health

Denisonians in health: - emily-wall-270x300.png image #0Name: Emily Wall
Denison Graduation Year: 2017
Denison Major: Psychology
Graduate/Professional School: pursuing a Master of Science in Health Disparities of Neuroscience-Related Disorders at Wake Forest University, class of 2019
Contact me: wall_e2@denison.edu

What is the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content has most engaged you?
My graduate program is a subset of our neuroscience program, called Health Disparities of Neuroscience-Related Disorders. By focusing on health disparities in my research, I felt like I was pursuing an opportunity related to the social justice topics we frequently talked about at Denison.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
While I wasn’t sold on applying to graduate school until the second semester of my junior year, while looking at programs I sought out the ability to do research in my field of interest (substance use), as well as programs I could realistically succeed in.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
I often doubted myself and my ability to apply and get into grad school – and I overcame my self-doubt with frequent conversations with encouraging friends and professors, as well as looking at my own application and realizing that on paper, I was a fine candidate for these programs. I frequently use this idea in grad school as well – when I doubt my ability to succeed here, I remind myself of my previous successes, as well as the way I am academically thriving in grad school.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
I plan on pursuing a PhD program after completing my masters this upcoming Spring. Eventually, I hope to be a professor and empower young women (and men) in the sciences, as I was empowered by my professors in undergrad.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
Have conversations with people in the program! I wish I had known more about what grad school was like, and what my specific program was like, prior to beginning here. I was so concerned about applying and getting in, that I often forgot about what it would be like once I actually got into the program!