SPHIS Alumni Wisdom

 Ten SPHIS alumni from the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health & Wellness offered some advice for our recent graduates. As you will see, our alumni are an excellent source of guidance and inspiration. 

Advice for new public health graduates

Our alumni offered suggestions for students who recently graduated with a public health degree and finding one’s place in public health.

Building a strong network is critical and ask for information interviews to better understand an organization’s mission and services.

  • Call public health professionals and speak with them about their likes and dislikes with their position, get an idea of what type of work you will want to do as soon as you approach completing your degree and begin contacting people that may be able to offer insights and help for you to pursue that goal. It sounds cliché but knowing the right people can go as far as knowing the right things. Contact SPHIS alumni and ask them for advice! -- Tom Murro, MPH (2013)
  • Take full advantage of internships/practicums. Do informational interviews with a variety of organizations to understand what they do in relation to public health. Don’t shy away from local public health, it’s a great stepping stone. -- Ciara Warren, MPH (2014)

Don’t shy away from self-promotion and being comfortable with discussing your strengths and abilities. Be persistent and open-minded.

  • Be open-minded as you start your career.  While I ended up going to the health department, there are all kinds of organizations where a public health background can be helpful, especially in terms of policy development or data science.  I have MPH colleagues all across Metro Government and they help us expand our reach. -- Angela Graham, MPH (2015)
  • Be your best spokesperson. Lastly, know your strengths- be proud and promote them. I am still working on becoming a better self-promoter, but having confidence to speak to your strengths and your successes is a necessary skill for advancement. -- Taylor Ingram, MPH (2013)
  • To students that are about to graduate, I will say do not give up! The journey on finding a job and where you see yourself within the healthcare field can be hard, difficult and overwhelming; however, in the end, it will be rewarding. -- Terrel Young, MPH (2018)

Opportunities in public health are limitless. Go for it!

  • The sky is your limit, please pursue your dream(s) and/but be strategic about your choices. -- Haritha Pallam, MPH (2010), MS
  • Your MPH provides you with a broad choice of job opportunities. You are not limited to apply to jobs that only fit the concentration you chose. -- Mary Powell, MPH (2011)
  • The school has prepared you to be a public health professional. You have enough knowledge and abilities to work on any public health issue, so don’t limit yourself. --  Yu-Ting Chen, MPH (2009), MS (2010)

Remember that in public health, you can make a difference. Be passionate and be patient.

  • Infuse public health and equity into everything you do by bringing the approach of impacting all the social determinants of health simultaneously, so we can improve population health. -- Billie Castle, PhD (2017), MPH
  • Most importantly, work where you’re passionate, so long as you can pay your bills and eat.  Most public health practitioners will be fulfilled through their contributions and not their salary. -- Matt Rhodes, MPH (2015)
  • After I graduated, I quickly realized that many of the contemporary ideas and techniques I learned at SPHIS are not widely understood or used in the ‘real world’. You have to be patient and remember that change takes time and that public health is still evolving. -- Taylor Ingram, MPH (2013)

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