In our Alumni Career Spotlight series, 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 Department of Health
Current position: Indiana Birth Defects and Problems Registry Program Manager
Degree(s): Bachelor of Science – Ball State University (2014); Master of Public Health – IUPUI (2020)
Why did you choose your major/program?
I chose to pursue an MPH degree with a concentration in social and behavioral science because I knew that’s where my heart was. I have always had a passion for people but specifically individuals and their overall quality of life. I wanted to help be the voice for public health change for individuals who may feel that their voice is not being heard.
Do you have any research interests?
My main research interests circle around maternal and child health. I am also interested in health equity within underserved communities.
Briefly describe your career path.
I graduated from Ball State University with a bachelor’s in health science in 2014. I immediately landed into the physical therapy realm as a coordinator but then went on to work at a children’s therapy clinic in Indianapolis. There I was able to not only work behind the scenes to make sure children received the therapies that they needed but I was also able to interact with families and hear their stories.
During my time at the children’s clinic I decided to apply for graduate school to further my education so that my knowledge could match my passion. In May of 2020, I graduated with my master’s degree and started working for the Indiana Department of Health in August of 2020. I’ve been here for almost two years now and I’m excited to see what the future holds!
Describe what an average day for you might be like.
An average day for me would be to manage my team and their needs before I start on my own personal tasks. From there I send birth defect surveillance data that is reported from Indiana hospitals to my team to be abstracted and reviewed to confirm birth defect conditions occurring in Hoosier babies.
I then take on meetings with stakeholders to discuss action items that are necessary for the education and awareness of birth defect prevention. From there I may be attending a webinar to increase my knowledge or creating new ideas to produce condition specific educational materials. Lastly, I am meeting with my colleagues to navigate new ways to improve our program for the citizens of Indiana.
What advice would you give your college self about pursuing your current career path or industry?
I would tell my college self to be ready to be flexible at any given moment. Public health is forever evolving and being in this field you have to be able to navigate changes, and quickly. I would also tell my college self that every aspect of your work may not be seen by others how you see it but to keep trying because one day it most certainly will!
What is a lesson learned at FSPH that you have been able to apply to your career?
To be able to listen without reaction and have those hard conversations when necessary. I learned that public health is not a one-scope profession and interdisciplinary work is critical when serving the public. I also learned that people with lived experience are the best source of information and to make sure to involve them because it will directly impact their communities and families.
What is the most significant thing that’s happened to you since graduating?
I married my now husband, Brandon, and it was one of the best days of my life! I am incredibly thankful for his support throughout my professional journey.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What’s next for you?
In 10 years I see myself continuing to work towards the improvement of health outcomes for mothers and their babies. Whether it be through research, campaigns, or collaborative work I know maternal and child health is right where I should be!
What is your favorite IUPUI/FSPH memory?
One of my favorite memories was being inducted into the Eta Sigma Gamma Honorary Society. Being a part of the first induction ceremony at IUPUI was an experience that I’ll never forget.