Pursuing a Career in Public Health as an Online Student at UVM

Public health is a diverse, rewarding, and growing field that offers many career options for people from a variety of educational backgrounds. Being able to improve the lives of others is what appeals to Chelsea Carman most of all.

A 2009 UVM alumna who majored in biology, Carman works as a laboratory technician with David Krag, M.D., S.D. Ireland Professor of Surgery at the UVM College of Medicine and a surgical oncologist at Fletcher Allen Health Care. The current Burlington resident and Feura Bush, N.Y., native continued taking courses after graduation as a UVM employee and says an “Emerging Infectious Diseases” class at UVM piqued her interest in public health.

Carman is in the process of applying for UVM’s new Master of Public Health program, a collaborative graduate program between the College of Medicine, the Graduate College at UVM, and Continuing and Distance Education. The new 42-credit online Master’s program is now open for fall 2014 admission.

Carman, who completed UVM’s Online Certificate of Graduate Study in Public Health lin 2013, says the online format for the new Master of Public Health is desirable for working professionals.

“It allows for a lot of flexibility, in terms of not having a lecture that you need to physically attend at a certain time,” she says. “This allows for many different people to take these classes, which enriches the discussions as the class represents a variety of backgrounds and opinions. Also, being able to access all the information for the class online at any point, as well as hand in assignments though email, is really convenient compared to a traditional classroom setting.”

The study of public health – including the implementation of prevention measures, the promotion of healthy behaviors, and research into global and community health – spans a variety of academic disciplines and professions, from epidemiology and biostatistics to environmental public health and health policy.

Carman is particularly interested in pursuing a career in epidemiology, the science that studies the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations.

“From what I have learned thus far, this is an ever evolving field and there continues to be new infectious diseases, which is really interesting,” she says. “I am hoping to pursue a Ph.D. in epidemiology. I think it would be exciting to work in other parts of the United States or the world, and I’m looking forward to seeing where my degrees from UVM will lead me.”

Carman says the networking opportunities at UVM have opened many doors.

“I think that my favorite thing about UVM is that there is a lot of networking opportunities that can lead to great experiences,” she says. “I met with Dr. Jan Carney (Associate Dean for Public Health at the College of Medicine and Program and Director for public health graduate programs) to try to find a way to get some experience within infectious disease epidemiology. She introduced me to an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Vermont Department of Health. Through this connection I’ve been offered an internship, which will give me valuable hands-on experience.”

The UVM Master of Public Health program is now open for fall 2014 admission. Courses are available this summer and may be transferred into the MPH program in the fall. For more information or to apply, visit www.uvm.edu/medicine/publichealthmph.

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