My name is Carolyn Brooks
and I’m a dual degree student at the Harvard Chan
School of Public Health, pursuing a doctorate of science
in the departments of Social and Behavioral
Science and Nutrition. My interest in public health
stems from my experience growing up in a low income,
African-American community in Jackson, Mississippi,
but going to school in a predominantly white,
upper class community about 20 minutes away. I saw great differences in the
resources and opportunities that were provided traveling
from home to school each day, whether it be the
food environment, the quality of the housing, or
the even quality of the roads. Prior to coming into
the Harvard Chan School, I worked at the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. It was in doing that
work that I realized that I needed some additional
statistical and methodological training that could help
me to really contribute most fully to the
work, and efforts, and research that’s needed
to advance health equity. I chose Harvard to
have the opportunity to work with and learn
from distinguished leaders in the fields
of social epidemiology, and to study social determinants
of health and nutrition, and not just academic research. Many are engaged very
fully in local, state, and federal policy, and
intervention efforts. And because I have a
very applied focus, the ability to both learn
the academic research skills, as well as apply them in
some practical settings, really appealed to me and
made Harvard the ideal choice. For the past three Summers
I’ve had the opportunity to work for an academic
research center, a large local public
health organization, as well as a large
national health insurer. And these opportunities
have given me great insights into both the
challenges and opportunities that exist to promote
very similar goals, but in different contexts. I’ve also had the honor
to work with and learn from Doctor Steven Gortmaker,
who’s my academic adviser and committee chair. He’s been extremely supportive
through my time here. Given me exposure
to various research and academic opportunities. So upon graduation
I’ve accepted a role with the large private
health insurer. In my role there I’ll
have the opportunity to work to develop, and
evaluate, and hopefully scale programmatic initiatives, and
to reduce health care costs, and improve health
outcomes among low income populations, specifically
the Medicaid population. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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Methew Wade

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