Gabrielle (Gabby) G. entered the public health field in May 2019 with a wealth of knowledge and the experience necessary to make an impact. After interning, volunteering, researching, and completing the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at UAlbany, Gabby is well equipped to help improve the health of communities.
“I WAS BLESSED TO GET INTO ALL THE MPH PROGRAMS I APPLIED TO,” GABBY EXCLAIMS, “BUT WHAT PUSHED ME TO STAY AT UALBANY, WHERE I COMPLETED MY UNDERGRAD DEGREE, WAS THAT THE PROGRAM IS HEAVILY INTERNSHIP BASED, AND I LEARN BETTER FROM DOING.”
According to Gabby, her MPH courses enabled her to flourish. She gained a strong understanding of the fundamentals during her first year, and then in her second year she applied this knowledge to real-world issues through her internships. “A huge applause to whoever structured the program,” laughs Gabby. “It’s very strategic. Each class has a benefit, and you might not realize it fully until you’re completing the internship component. That’s when everything just clicks and you’re thankful for each class – even Program Development and Evaluation, which ended up being the most relevant class for my second internship, even though at the time I didn’t quite understand its importance.”
Gabby interned with Albany Med’s Division of Community Outreach during the first semester of her second year. She helped integrate public health knowledge into the medical students’ curriculum and facilitated community engagement activities to connect med students to populations they may serve as future doctors. “It’s important that doctors are really listening to their patients and understanding where they’re coming from, rather than falling back on stereotypes,” Gabby explains. “It’s great to see that Albany Medical Center is placing a huge emphasis on learning public health alongside medicine.”
Gabby also became a certified application counselor (CAC) for New York State through her internship and was sent out into the community to help people enroll in health insurance. “It was an eye-opening experience,” Gabby reflects, stating that she truly saw how socioeconomic status impacted people’s health and access to healthcare.
“IT WAS SO REWARDING TO HELP EMPOWER PEOPLE. IN PUBLIC HEALTH WE NEED TO BECOME PARTNERS WITH COMMUNITY MEMBERS RATHER THAN JUST TEACH THEM, AS THIS WILL HELP THEM MAKE DECISIONS TO BETTER THEIR OWN HEALTH FOR YEARS TO COME.”
Gabby completed her second internship with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Campus Sexual Assault Prevention Unit (CSAP) in the Bureau of Women, Infant, and Adolescent Health. She assisted with the development of a Student Outreach and Engagement Toolkit for the NYSDOH Enough is Enough-funded rape crisis and sexual violence programs to use on campuses in their work to assist colleges and universities with preventing and responding to sexual violence.
Not long after graduating, Gabby secured a position in public health in New York City. As she continues on her career path, all of the faculty and staff at the UAlbany School of Public Health, along with those who mentored her throughout her internships, are rooting for her continued success.