Four individuals are being recognized for their commitment to public health.
Sindhu Donepudi, Brigid Enright, Carolyn Siccama, and Bidur Dahal are the recipients of the UVM Master of Public Health annual awards.
Donepudi and Enright received the Academic Excellence Award; Siccama the Linda Dorey Service to Public Health Award; and Dahal the Achievement in Public Health Practice Award. UVM public health program faculty nominated the award winners.
Sindhu Donepudi – Public Health Academic Excellence Award
Donepudi, a first-year medical student at Medical College of Wisconsin’s Central Wisconsin campus, studied neuroscience as an undergraduate student at UVM. She joined the Accelerated MPH program at UVM her senior year and completed her studies in May.
“One of the reasons I really appreciate the MPH program is that it taught me how to be open. Not just in my behavior but in understanding there are other types of people out there different from me,” she says. “Something important to me in cultural competence is the development of the ability to communicate effectively with people of diverse populations. That’s something I really improved upon in this program.”
The award recognizes Donepudi for maintaining an overall GPA greater than 3.5, and for consistently demonstrating academic excellence and a commitment to the field of public health.
“I was so surprised by this award, and I was happy that I made some sort of impact on my professors,” she says. “I became really good at time management and managing my workload.”
Brigid Enright – Public Academic Excellence Award
Enright, who earned her undergraduate degree from UVM in Nursing and Behavioral Change Health Studies, completed the Accelerated MPH program this year. She is now a registered nurse, clinical instructor, and lecturer at UVM, where she teaches graduate public health nursing.
“Public health education is essential for any field. The MPH program gave me an awareness that everyone has the same potential, but not everyone has same opportunity,” she says. “The world is not fair, and you see that a lot in health care. That’s ultimately a guiding factor for me.”
The award recognizes Enright for maintaining an overall GPA greater than 3.5, and for consistently demonstrating academic excellence and a commitment to the field of public health.
“I have such a profound appreciation for the mentorship I received in the program. To me it’s something I can’t stop smiling about,” Enright says. “It’s something I hold near and dear to my heart and use as justification to keep going. It means the world to me.”
Carolyn Siccama – Linda Dorey Public Health Service Award
Siccama, an instructional designer at UVM Professional and Continuing Education, plays an important role in the MPH program. In her job, she’s designing online courses, troubleshooting Blackboard challenges, and helping faculty make sure courses meet competency requirements.
The award was established in honor of the late Linda Dorey. Dorey was the director of communications for the Vermont Department of Health, and later worked for UVM and helped develop the MPH program. The award recognizes a student, staff person or faculty member in the UVM Public Health program who has demonstrated a high level of service to the program, the University, or public health more broadly.
Siccama earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in dietetics and nutrition education. While a graduate student at Framingham State College, she had the opportunity to create an online course with her faculty advisor. She never looked back and joined UVM PACE 10 years ago as an instructional designer. She says working with the MPH faculty is the most rewarding part of her job.
“They are creative in their teaching, passionate about what they do, and want to try new things,” she says. “With my health background, I’m also interested in the topic and content, and I get to work with a very inspiring group of UVM faculty.”
Bidur Dahal – Achievement in Public Health Practice Award
Dahal, an outreach professional at the Vermont Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (VT LEND) program, completed the MPH program in 2021.
This award recognizes a UVM public health student who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to advancing public health practice, including working effectively in teams.
“I am more of a public service person than someone who wants to work alone,” says Bidur, a former refugee from Bhutan. He arrived in the United States as a Bhutanese refugee from Nepal in 2011 and completed the MPH program over five years.
“The MPH program has given me the confidence to take on additional tasks. I can now connect many dots related to public health matters and share potential solutions,” he says. “The award is a big recognition and honor for me, and it is something I couldn’t have achieved alone. For this, I would like to thank every individual who nominated me for the award, my family for their sacrifices, VT LEND staff, cultural broker team, diverse professionals, and the community members for their continued support for the success we accomplished today because of our concerted efforts.”