Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

I was inspired to pursue a Masters in Public Health by the work that I am doing in Central Oregon with Let’s Talk Diversity Coalition (LTDC). LTDC is a regional health equity coalition, based in Madras, Oregon, that works with the Northwest Health Foundation to further multicultural understanding and advocate for health equity in Jefferson County, Oregon. In my role as a facilitator of the LTDC Healthy Communities workgroup, I am collaborating with local and state health organizations to address systemic inequities that impact health and wellness of minorities. I understand that systemic systems take time to change, but I feel confident that the work LTDC and their collaborators are doing is helping to move the needle on tobacco, youth education and health policy.

In these past two years, I noticed how important it is to get involved in policy changes in order to address the different issues and inequities in local and state governments. Although, my experience is limited, I have taken opportunities to develop my awareness of equity, cultural understanding and policy reform advocacy. Still, I am starkly aware of the limits of my knowledge. It is primarily this reason that I have become passionate about pursuing an MPH degree.

Initially, my career goal was to go into medicine either as a physician or researcher. However, the longer I work with nonprofits, it became evident that systematic change requires influencing policy, informing initiatives and gaining buy-in from multiple sectors in society. For this reason, my goal has shifted to become a physician involved in public health policy. In my future, I will engage in policy work and inform the direction of different systems. Physicians are in a unique position to see first hand the effects of ineffective health care and disparities in access to health care. I look forward to joining the league of advocates, government officials and health care providers that influence the future of systems in the United States.

Jenny from Idaho
George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health