This evening I shook the hand of the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Vivek Murthy, who was appointed by President Obama and just completed his four year term in April this year. After connecting with him briefly on the idea of clinicians moving beyond patient care and into public health advocacy and politics, he encouraged me to “run for office.”
Surprised and flattered I thanked him for his vote and biked home.
I’m two weeks into my Masters of Public Health (MPH) and the phrase “hitting the ground running” doesn’t quite cut it. Thankfully I enjoy running. So far his environment drenched in opportunities to network, listen to and engage with world class speakers, and connect with peers on similarly inspired paths has been invigorating.
To give some context, I’ve lived in Boston, MA now for two weeks. I attended a high intensity two day orientation focused on hearing from my Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) faculty and diving into the conversation about public health, health disparities, and inequities. I moved into (and cleaned) my tiny South End apartment with my to classmate/roommates Aaron and Zhengyi, and then started full-time classes taking up two and a half days each week.
I am one of over 400 new MPH students at BUSPH and this semester my four classes are with 68 of those students making up cohort D. It takes time to settle into a group this big and diverse, but classes are focused around sharing, discussions, and group work so connections are surfacing each day.
- Health Systems, Law, and Policy – dense case readings and heavy, intricate discussions, but so far pretty dang fascinating and engaging.
- Leadership and Management for Public Health – so far all the readings are topics and articles I’d probably read in my free time, so that’s fun.
- Quantitative Methods for Public Health (aka basic biostats and epidemiology) – I’m learning R for statistical analysis and I love it.
- Individual, Community, and Population Health – filling my tool box with theories for understanding the complexities of exposures/outcomes and cause/effect in health research.
Moving forward I can tell I’m going to be busy, but so far the stress level is comfortable. Though I hope to get a nursing job in the coming months so that could throw an interesting wrench into my routine. I hope to update things here periodically, though I might just post random articles or assignments I come across in my studies that are worth sharing.
As for Dr. Murthy’s encouragement to “run for office,” I’m skeptical of that clarifying my immediate future goals, but am thankful for the input nonetheless.
Just as before, though I’m not across the planet, I would love to hear from those out their still reading. Questions are welcomed and encouraged.