Over the coming weeks you will meet some of our alumni and learn about the important work they are doing to create a healthier nation and world.
Employer: Indiana Rural Health Association
Current position: Program Director
Degree(s): IU Fairbanks School of Public Health: MPH (May 2021)
Why did you choose your major/program?
I chose the MPH degree after researching many different degree options. Mainly because I knew that I wanted to work on improving the quality of patient care, reduce medical waste, and reduce medical costs.
Outside of that, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in health and knew that the Fairbanks School of Public Health had a track record of connecting students to employment. Additionally, I wanted to go to school part-time as I worked full-time and knew the Fairbanks MPH program would give me the flexibility and knowledge that would be directly applicable in my current positions.
Even through job changes I was able to apply what I learned in the classroom to my work. The MPH program helped me narrow down what I wanted to do in healthcare and opened many doors for me. When you take the time and energy to work through a master’s program, that is the type of return on investment you want to see!
Do you have any research interests?
I currently manage two federal grants focused on collecting data to contribute to research and the evidence base for tele-behavioral health and tele-neurology services. Additionally, I work as a consultant for a Community Paramedicine program where I work to create the framework for data collection and analysis to build an evidence base for Community Paramedicine.
Briefly describe your career path.
I have had a very unconventional career path. I went to school first to get my Phd in clinical psychology and later decided to pursue occupational therapy. After losing my brother in a car accident my junior year I fell behind in my program and decided to just graduate with my bachelor’s in psychology and work for a few years before going to graduate school.
I worked at a nonprofit (non-healthcare related) for about 2.5 years before deciding I wanted to pursue public health. I moved to Indianapolis and took jobs at Community Health Network, Anthem Inc., and a population health analytics company, before starting my work with the Indiana Rural Health Association.
What advice would you give your college self about pursuing work in your current industry?
Make sure to connect with other students, your professors, and take advantage of networking opportunities through organizations like Indy Hub or young professional boards. Those connections can open doors for you later.
What is a lesson learned at FSPH that you have been able to apply to your career?
I’m not sure if this is a lesson, but there are two classes in particular in my graduate career that I utilize the skills I learned on a frequent basis. One was Population Health Information Exchange and the other was Program Planning. As a program director on a research grant, these classes helped me immensely!
What is the most significant thing that’s happened to you since graduating?
A lot happened over the 3.5 years of going to school part-time! I switched jobs twice, got promoted three times, got married, bought our first home, got two dogs, and a lot of travel! But the biggest thing professionally was becoming the director for the Crossroads Partnership for Telehealth and the Upper Midwest Telehealth Resource Center (UMTRC) at the Indiana Rural Health Association.
One of the things that has been one of the newest experiences for me is hosting a podcast titled “A Virtual View” with the UMTRC that focuses on healthcare technology, health equity, and telehealth.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What’s next for you?
I see myself continuing to focus on healthcare technology, the future is very bright and there are many new and innovative technologies that could also appear or dramatically improve in the next 10 years. I want to continue to be able to focus on bringing this technology to areas that typically don’t have access to technology due to a lack of funds and expertise.