Dr. Elzerie de Jager Brings Fresh Energy and An International Perspective to Public Health at UVM

It wasn’t a single experience or definitive moment that sealed Elzerie de Jager’s interest in health equity. During her medical training – Dr. de Jager holds a medical degree as well as a PhD from James Cook University in Australia – a focus on quality improvement presented a natural segue into issues of equal access to healthcare. “I found it fascinating how healthcare is so disparate. I wanted to do research to describe that and ultimately try to make healthcare more equitable,” she reflects from her office at the Larner College of Medicine at The University of Vermont, where she is rounding the bend on her first semester of teaching as an Assistant Professor in the online and CEPH-accredited Master of Public Health Program.

Her research gained the attention of the director of the Center for Surgery and Public Health, a collaboration of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health, who recruited her to complete a postdoctoral research fellowship in Boston, where her research largely focused on measuring equity in surgical care.

An Expansive Career Takes a New Direction in Vermont

Boston proved to be a transformative place both professionally and personally, with Dr. de Jager meeting her future spouse during her postdoctoral years in the city. Relocating to Vermont together, Dr. de Jager weighed her next career move. Drawn to the high quality of life and opportunity to balance rigorous research pursuits with the tranquility of ski slopes and long hikes, Dr. de Jager is pleased to now call Vermont home – and excited for the challenge of her first formal teaching role.

“I think what sets UVM’s MPH program apart from other programs is that it’s an online, asynchronous course. And it was developed to be that before the pandemic and before things shifted to being remote.”

Elzerie de Jager, MBBS, PhD

“You have an interesting mix of people working together in the program,” she continues, describing how undergraduate students with advanced entry mingle seamlessly with practicing physicians in an online classroom designed to foster peer collaboration. “Being able to understand something well enough to explain it to someone else really cements your own learning,” she says, explaining how discussion boards are an important learning vehicle. “It makes for a rich learning environment.”

Teaching online, where there is endless opportunity for creative curriculum delivery, Dr. de Jager is in her element. “My research career started in quality improvement. When I’m doing something, I’m constantly thinking about what can be done to make it better. So, when I’m working through these courses, I’m thinking about what we can do to make the experience better for students,” she says.

Dr. de Jager taught Epidemiology 1 in her first semester of teaching at UVM. She will be teaching again over the summer semester before offering Epidemiology 2 in fall 2023. Beyond Epidemiology, Dr. de Jager is currently developing a three-credit Health Equity elective course that will be offered in the near future and is excited by the opportunity to develop novel teaching and content delivery methods with the curriculum. 

“One of my goals is to make the coursework enjoyable and more user-friendly,” she explains. 

Learn more about what it’s like to study public health at UVMand how professors like Dr. de Jager bring their research, expertise, and global lens on public health challenges and interventions to life in the classroom.

Ready to Get Started?

Contact Us Today!

We’re here to answer any questions you may have about public health.