April 4, 2017

M.P.H. Alumni Career Spotlight

By Dr. Jennifer Janousek, Master of Public Health Program Director | Blog, Health and Human Services

Public health veterinarian at the United States Department of Agriculture. Management and Program Analyst at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Public health nurse fighting Ebola in Africa. Hardworking professionals hailing from all over the world, from vastly different backgrounds with unique career goals. Yet, there’s one commonality—they all hold a Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) degree from Concordia University, Nebraska.

Not sure what you can do with an M.P.H.? We’ve spoken with three of our alumni to see what they’re doing since graduating from Concordia and how they’re using their degree.

Michael O’Driscoll

Michael is the Director of Health and Emergency Management for Gila County, Arizona and a recent M.P.H. graduate from Concordia University, Nebraska. Michael joined Gila County in 2011 with more than 20 years of experience in Public Health and Emergency Preparedness in various roles during his career in California and Illinois. He has been integral in resolving large health disparity issues, vector-borne disease, foodborne outbreaks, ground water contamination, and hazardous materials complaints, among others—mitigating issues and ensuring public safety state-wide, across its various constituency populations.

“The M.P.H. program is constructed around the 10 essential services of public health that fall into the three categories of 1. assessment, 2. policy development, and 3. assurance. Each class a student takes at Concordia will increase their public health knowledge of these services. And, with their interactions with faculty, you will be taught to how to apply that knowledge to tackle serious health issues in a variety of culturally diverse communities. Because of the education and training I received from Concordia University, Nebraska, I have successfully implemented several new public health community programs that has seen Gila County go from 15th place out of 15 in the Robert Wood Johnson Local County Health Department rankings in Arizona to 13th place—in less than two years since I have acquired my M.P.H. from Concordia.”

Miracle Okoye

Since graduating from Concordia, Miracle is working as a public health research coordinator for one of the top cancer hospitals in the nation. Her research focuses on health disparities and program implementation in faith-based institutions. Having a dynamic shift in the quality of life during her childhood when raised in both West Africa and the United States, it has fueled Miracle’s passion to eliminate socioeconomic, health, and racial disparities. Miracle is planning to further her education with a doctoral degree. “[I chose Concordia because of] its accreditation, history in education, Christian legacy, and the variety of research interests among the faculty it employs.” The best part about the M.P.H. program? “The faculty relationships I had the opportunity to build. They helped me to, practically and professionally, prepare for my career in behavioral research.”

Aaron Sweazy

Aaron has a unique story of his own. He went from being a cancer patient and homeless to Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services (D.H.H.S.) Men’s Health Coordinator and Senior Community Health Educator in the Public Health Division’s Women’s and Men’s Health Program upon graduation with his M.P.H. degree. Aaron came to Concordia as a graduate assistant for the wrestling team and landed in the M.P.H. program out of happenstance. He quickly found his public health passion and wanted to have a direct impact on helping others in the world improve their health. “The vast backgrounds of students and caring faculty helped to cultivate altruistic values during course discussions and dialogue.” Aaron oversees 10 of the 20 state health hubs for D.H.H.S. offering technical assistance so they can better serve their local clients. One of the most rewarding parts of Aaron’s job is being able to help navigate men and women who are underinsured and uninsured to colorectal, breast, and cervical screenings and diagnosis.

Learn how Concordia University, Nebraska can be a part of your story. Get started on your M.P.H. degree today.

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