I miss you, public health. I really do. The traipsing about in the village, measuring MUAC amongst little chubby faced babies, meeting with expecting mothers to trumpet the benefits of family planning and spacing, working with community health workers to achieve fully-vaccinated status for all children under 1 year in their catchment areas. I even miss hawking Waterguard from door to door, and doing the M&E grunt calculation work.
When I was younger, I wanted to be many things; a lawyer, a journalist, Kenya’s first female president. I also wanted, when I started my undergraduate studies, to work in diplomacy and international relations. My dream changed when I realized that I really, really wanted to work in healthcare so I thought I wanted to become a doctor. An ER doc, specifically. I worked with some great doctors and I really, really wanted to study medicine. But I could not afford med school. Then Eunice introduced me to what has surely become the love of my life (next to writing, of course), Public Health. Working at the community level to facilitate behavior changes in order to improve health status and outcomes. Boom, I was all the way in love!
Now that I am temporarily back in the First World, I find myself really missing my day to day PH related activities. It is a tough job on some days but on most days, I felt quite rewarded. Not in a financial sense but in an emotional and mentally-uplifting sense. I loved doing public health both on the ground level and at the national level in Addis. I always thought that I would end up in an office in D.C. somewhere, writing health policy, dictating international health writs and kicking illnesses like malaria, TB, AFP, measles in their collective behinds. Well, I discovered that I love being in the field and working hand in hand with community members…in foreign countries. I love being a Tulane SPH Almuna and trying to live this mission, and I really, really miss public health. I wonder if it misses me too!
The Department of Global Health Systems and Development is dedicated to improving the health of populations worldwide through strengthening health systems, building stronger communities, and facilitating healthy behaviors in an increasingly globalized world. The faculty introduces and engages students to health systems and development in a global context with an emphasis on improving the factors that drive health outcomes, including social determinants and disparities. The academic program provides a comprehensive view of varying geographical and economic contexts, while advancing knowledge and improving managerial practice.