Student Spotlight: Jessica Healy, MPH
Recent UNE Online graduate, Jessica Healy, makes strides against underage drinking in Massachusetts
Jessica Healy, Regional Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator for the Health Department in Hudson, MA, is spearheading a five-town substance abuse initiative to fight against underage drinking.
Through a 3-year, $300,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, town coalitions have spent the last several months exploring how underage drinking affects their communities.
Taking action against underage drinking
Working along with the towns of Framingham, Ashland, Northborough, Southborough, and Hudson, the project involves addressing the issue of underage drinking, creating action plans and spreading awareness of this epidemic.
“It takes a village to raise a child – and it takes a community to fight substance abuse,” Healy said.
Healy originally attended school to become a nurse practitioner, and was working in a hectic cardiology office as a medical assistant when she became fascinated with the challenges and issues in health. A colleague suggested she pursue a public health degree, since an MPH addresses a wide gamut of health issues.
“I found UNE instructors very knowledgeable in the subjects that they taught. They were very supportive and encouraged thinking outside the box,” says Healy when asked about highlights of University of New England’s online Master’s of Public Health program.
The deciding factors for UNE Online
The willingness and responsiveness of staff, CEPH accreditation, and the fact that the UNE Online Master of Public Health Program is offered completely online, were all factors for Healy in choosing UNE to earn her degree.
“I feel that UNE prepared me very well for the job I am doing,” says Healy.
Striving for sustainable change
From the Hudson Health Department website: “Since unhealthy behaviors threaten not just the well-being of youth, but ultimately have negative economic consequences for communities, it makes sense to seek community-wide solutions. The Hudson Youth Substance Abuse Prevention initiative will engage the entire community through a three-pronged approach; a community substance use coalition, environmental modifications, and school-based programs. By integrating various strategies into existing or new policies and activities throughout the community, the initiative will strive to create sustainable change for the town of Hudson.”
For more information on the substance abuse program in Hudson, go to www.hudsonhealthdept.org/substance-abuse
— Congratulations Jessica, on making a positive impact on your community!