I am writing this personal statement for a Public Health Associate Program job with CDC. Have I highlighted my strengths and what I can offer to the organization sufficiently? I worry that I might be missing the substance, and if its full of fluff. Also, do I need to title personal statement? I need to cut down the words and bring it to 500 words only while making sure I answer the questions below.
1.What are your goals after completing the PHAP program?
2. How would PHAP help you fulfill these goals?
3. How will PHAP complement previous training or experiences?
Public Health Associate Program - personal statement
I woke up in the middle of the night by the loud noises that was coming from room next to mine, where my parents and neighbors had gathered to discuss about a flooding that had a catastrophic impact in my ancestral village. This happened more than two decades ago, and as a young girl, I was not allowed to participate in the discussions among the adults. So I listened, and found out that this flood had taken many lives,and destroyed properties in the village. My parents and neighbors were worried about a contagious disease causing diarrhea, and killing people within a matter of hours.Next morning, I asked my teacher, and learned that this disease was cholera. Due to lack of access to clean water and transportation, many villagers had been drinking water from a local river that had been contaminated by the debris from flooding. There was limited health awareness around prevention, and poor access to the health resources. which resulted in deaths that could have been prevented with a simple Oral Rehydration Therapy and antibiotic. Learning about the impact of flooding and subsequent outbreak of cholera encouraged me to learn more about public health condition in Nepal including various diseases, risk factors, importance of health education and promotion, and other factors that impact the population health and standard of living.
Later my family moved to the US and in college, I continued my learning of public health by completing Bachelors of Health Science with concentration in Global and Community Health. The classes I took in college prepared me with health promotion and outreach skills which later I was able to apply in my internships, and other volunteer activities. Currently, I am pursuing my Masters in Public Health with epidemiology as my concentration.. My global and community health education background has given me a broad insight into major public health issues, US and global health systems, health promotion methods, whereas epidemiology concentration has broaden my knowledge in statistical and analytical components of public health. In the future, I plan to leverage my educational and professional background in efforts to conduct health researches, collect and analyze data to study the global health trends, diseases, risk factors, and identify strategies to improve health efficacy, and to ultimately reduce the global burden of diseases.
Most recently, I worked as a Public Health Project Coordinator for a major hospital system to address the social determinants of health in order to improve the health and living standards for vulnerable populations such as refugees, immigrants and other low-income residents. I conducted outreach and provided health education to the community members, while linking them to health services and other public resources. I also worked as a Refugee Health Advocate for a non-profit organization where I assisted newly arrived refugees in navigating the intricate US health system, and advocated on behalf of the refugees to ensure they received quality and timely health care services. My experiences as a public health professional has equipped me with skills such as capacity building, problem solving, advocacy, leadership, and cultural competency which has helped me become a better health advocate.
As a health advocate and project coordinator, I gained exposure to the epidemiological methods through qualitative research such as literature reviews and focus groups. I conducted community needs assessment, collected and monitored project metrics, and analyzed the data to recognize health trends and program constraints. Furthermore I recommended strategies to the leadership at respective organizations to streamline project processes and program growth. The research and analytic efforts in these projects helped the hospital to understand racial disparities in the health system, advocate for quality care and improve policies on behalf of the target populations.
As a PHAP associate, I believe I will be able to gain hands on experience with various prevention and treatment focused public health projects that can enhance my analytic, program planning, and capacity building skills among the others. Furthermore, I would have access to the support systems, resources and expertise that CDC offers to the associates in training. Learning from the public health leaders, fellow public health advocates and scientists will help broaden my knowledge and accelerate my professional and personal growth.
Post PHAP fellowship, I will pursue opportunities within in national and international health organizations, and utilize competencies I gain from the fellowship to investigate the risk and protective factors of chronic and infectious diseases that have reached epidemic proportions. I will continue to learn and use the evidence based practices to prevent and control such diseases and other determinants of population health. Furthermore, I would like to work within global health epidemiology conducting studies to better understand the relationship between overall wellness, resource availability, and the healthy community. Through this, I hope to be able to influence policies and advocate for programs that will reduce health disparities and positively impact standards of life.