Student Spotlight: Brittany Roy, MPH – Public Health Program
This August, a group of UNE students and advisors participated in an immersion experience in Ghana. Students worked alongside Ghana Health Service, community health educators and the community to provide healthcare services to the twin cities of Sekondi and Takoradi. Participants of the program engaged in direct health services, interprofessional collaboration, community education and academic and cross-cultural exchange. Here, Brittany Roy gives us a glimpse of her involvement with the program in Ghana, and her most important takeaways from the experience.
About Brittany Roy, MPH Class of 2015
I currently live in Biddeford, Maine with my fianceé. I graduated from Stonehill College in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree where I majored in Neuroscience and minored in Music.
I previously worked at The Jackson Laboratory as a Research Assistant studying drug addiction and obesity and at the University of New England as a Laboratory Manager/Senior Research Associate studying the role of various transcription factors in chronic pain.
After working in laboratory research for several years, I realized that it was not the ideal career path for me and that I wanted to have more interaction with people and affect health in a more direct way. I thought that global health would be the perfect fit for me so I applied and was accepted into the MPH program at UNE.
Applying knowledge from the MPH program
I am currently working at UNE as the Coordinator for the Coastal Healthy Communities Coalition where I have been able to implement much of what I have learned in my MPH courses. I am nearing the end of my MPH and will be graduating in December 2015. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, running, and practicing yoga.
Reasons I decided to go to Ghana…
Realization of a dream
I have always wanted to participate in a medical mission. As a child, my dream was to become a doctor and work with Doctors Without Borders. I would buy books that listed volunteer medical mission opportunities and think about all of the different communities I could work in around the world and deliver health care.
Global health focus
As an adult, I chose a different path and began my MPH with the hopes to one day work in global health. When the opportunity to travel to Ghana was presented through UNE, I knew I had to pull my resources together and find a way to go on the trip.
Hands-on testing and research
This type of trip is a public health student’s dream. Once I was accepted on the trip, I began working with my professor Jen Gunderman to develop a survey to assess the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors surrounding malaria in Ghana. I administered the survey to 37 individuals while in Ghana and gathered very useful data along with doing hands-on malaria testing.
As part of my practicum, I will be analyzing the results of my survey and I will be developing a malaria prevention program which will be given to UNE to use on future trips to Ghana. This trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity and it helped me to grow both personally and professionally.
Top ten most important lessons learned in Ghana
Not that you can fully summarize an entire foreign country experience in just ten seemly simple points, but Brittany does a great job helping us understand in a meaningful way what it’s like to go to Ghana, as she shares her key learnings from the experience.
For more information on getting your MPH at UNE, go to go.une.edu/mph-program-info Interested in applying to UNE Online? The sooner you apply, the sooner you hear back. Fill out an online application today at online.une.edu/gateway-portal-page!