Where Are They Now?
Courtney Joseph Class of 2016
Upon graduating from Muhlenberg with a degree in public health, I accepted a position in the National Health Corps Florida AmeriCorps program in Jacksonville, Florida. I serve at Baptist Health Medical Center's Social Responsibility department as a Health Educator. Within this position, my main project is to coordinate the "8 Weeks to Healthy Living" initiative with faith-based partner organizations within the community that engage participants in nutrition education as well as physical activity. These classes occur once every week at each partner organization and for each location, I recruit a registered dietitian to speak for an hour on nutrition topics as well as a personal trainer to guide participants of varying abilities through an hour of exercise. We begin the 8 weeks with a "kick-off" health screening where participants have arm, leg, and waist measurements taken as well as weight, BMI, and glucose. They also have the opportunity to receive one-on-one counseling with a Baptist Health nurse about any health concerns. This mini health fair is replicated upon the completion of the 8 weeks to measure changes in biometrics. In addition, I conduct weekly weigh-ins with each participant throughout the duration of the program in order to track their progress. The goal of the program is to initiate healthy behavior changes among community members so that they are educated and empowered to make healthier life choices and in turn, reduce their risk factors for chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. One of our partner organizations which has completed and enjoyed our 8 weeks program several times expressed a desire to Baptist Health to pilot a similar program that lasts for a year in order to create a more long-lasting impact. As a result, I am in charge of coordinating the first ever "24 Hours to Healthy Living" class with them.
In addition to these projects, I will also spend some of my time throughout my service term with the National Health Corps educating local middle school and high school after-school clubs on tobacco prevention. I will also coordinate health education sessions with a partner organization called Clara White Mission, which provides transitional housing and education for the homeless population of Jacksonville.
In concordance with AmeriCorps requirements, I will participate in varying service projects throughout the community at least once every month.
I love the opportunities this organization provides and have been thrilled to see the ways in which my public health academic knowledge is being implemented in a real-world setting. I am seeing first hand how organizations that focus on public health survey their surrounding area and identify community needs, create intervention strategies, come up with a plan, partner with outside organizations, implement the plan, and evaluate the results. It has truly been a fascinating and educational opportunity!
Alyssa Buczynski Class of 2016
I am currently employed as a Communicable Disease Investigator at the Allentown Health Bureau, which means I am responsible for the prompt and thorough investigation and follow-up of individual cases and outbreaks of communicable diseases in accordance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Pennsylvania Department of Health (PDH) guidelines. Other responsibilities of mine include; conducting field investigations of communicable diseases, submitting disease and data reports to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, interacting with area laboratories and hospitals, assisting with epidemiological aspects of community and clinic patient care and participating/conducting professional development programs. Muhlenberg’s Public Health program prepared me immensely for my job from instilling core knowledge of the Public Health field to teaching me how to interact and work effectively with others in a professional setting. I am forever grateful for Dr. Cronin and Dr. Burger for all the advice and help they have given me in order to launch my career in the Public Health field, take full advantage of their wisdom while you can!
Aley Weidman Class of 2016
Since graduation I have moved to New York City, where I just started at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. I am concentrating in Sociomedical Sciences, with a certificate in Health Policy. My first semester I am taking only CORE classes, where in my cohort of around 100 students, we take classes in eighteen different modules that are grouped into six studios. The CORE (classes) are extremely complicated and intense. While the classes are demanding, I am enjoying all. Most students in my program are a lot older and have years of experience working in the field of public health. Many are physicians or nurses or lawyers or dual degree candidates. Our lectures are anywhere between 100-250 students, which has been a challenging transition for me so far. Coming from Muhlenberg, my classes were usually small, where I was able to participate regularly. My professors knew my name and were accessible in meeting for office hours and going over material. Academically, I have felt prepared and while I may have been intimidated by my peers at first, I know I have an upper-hand having majored in public health. I understand public health in an academic sense. And what we have studied so far – the Tuskegee study, John Stuart Mill, and the importance of reproducibility and accuracy in study design which I have already learned about at Muhlenberg. Through my practicums and internships, I learned how to integrate what I learned in the classroom in a real world setting. Similarly, this semester in my Integration of Science and Practice class, we are doing just that. Muhlenberg prepared me academically, but much more than that, Muhlenberg gave me the confidence to participate, engage, and think about public health through many different lenses.