HomeHealthHealth CareMPH students explore careers, build skills during their summer break

MPH students explore careers, build skills during their summer break

All students in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program have internship requirements to complete their degree. While the summer experiential learning opportunities are not intended for academic credit, they are not only designed to suit each student’s own interests, but also allow them to work directly with employers to gain valuable skills. build in the real world.

Public health students also benefit from the collaborative environment of this multidisciplinary program, which is a collaborative effort of Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences and the College of Community and Public Affairs.

Three students spent the summer of 2022 working in different sectors within public health to increase their professional marketability through real-world experiences. This is what they learned.

Valerie Palmeri: Broome County Health Department

There are many potential career paths in the public health field, but Valerie Palmeri, who grew up in Endwell, NY, didn’t expect to find her job so close to home.

A summer experiential learning opportunity at the Broome County Health Department put 22-year-old Palmeri at the center of efforts to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to underserved rural areas and share helpful information with residents hesitant to vaccinate. Her position in the health department came about through her AmeriCorps placement with the Rural Health Network.

Palmeri’s internship took her to senior centers as well as community events and other venues in Broome County, NY. It’s an experience she says helped refine a passion for promoting health in her own community by exploring the extensive services a county’s health department offers.

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“Public health is really about that outreach, sharing information with people across different programs,” says Palmeri. “We are not forcing anyone to get the vaccine, we are just recommending it. We also do a lot of home vaccination visits to help people who can’t leave their homes and to make sure we can answer their questions.”

Palmeri says experience with social aspects of public health is valuable in charting a possible career path.

Elisabeth Van Tassell: Willis Towers Watson

How do different companies offer health insurance? How do insurance plans differ between employees? And how do providers’ insurance plans differ?

These are questions that Elisabeth Van Tassell answered during her internship as a business support specialist in the health care and benefits industry at the insurance consultant Willis Towers Watson branch in Arlington, Virginia.

“It’s about making sure people have access to the health care they need, and being a part of how that works for different companies has been fascinating,” said Van Tassell, a 22-year-old from Westchester, NY. Much of her internship involved tapping skills from her statistics background when it came to assessing insurance plans.

“I’ve come to understand the financial aspect behind it,” she says, “because a company is going to give its employees the best possible insurance, but they’re also going to have to balance costs in a realistic way.”

Van Tassell says her work at Willis Towers Watson also built on what she learned in class work on health policy, insurance and management, enabling her to play a key role in projects that directly affected working people.

“This experience forced me to become more resourceful and learn new things,” says Van Tassell, “which is great because they want you to be able to pursue different options in a company like this.”

Megan Sticco: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

After gaining experience as an emergency medical technician (EMT) and working at the university’s COVID-19 testing center for over a year, Megan Sticco was eager to broaden her skills beyond the healthcare frontline.

She found that opportunity during her summer experiential learning at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in Tarrytown, NY, where she assisted in the management of Phase IV clinical trials for drugs already approved by the FDA but still undergoing testing.

For Sticco, it was an opportunity to deepen her understanding of an area of ​​health not often discussed in detail due to the confidential nature of the work. “There are so many interesting sections in clinical trial management,” she says, and being integrated into this process during her internship allowed her to expand on what she learned in her classes.

It also served as a valuable professional networking opportunity, as well as an opportunity to develop marketable skills through tasks such as reviewing data and survey information.

“Part of what I love about public health is that you can still help people, and working at Regeneron has allowed me to do a little bit of everything,” says Sticco, who earns a certificate in disaster management along with her MPH degree. “Not only can I see what other people do with their public health degrees, but being involved in big projects for a company like this, watching them develop, has been a great way for me to learn just how much work there is in private healthcare.”

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