Why Students choose the School of Public Health

Andrew Payne, R.N.

payne-profile.jpg

Program:

MPH in Epidemiology, with a focus on disaster and emergency response

Origins:

Houston, Texas

Undergraduate:

History

Professional Interests:

Research and implementation of disaster protocols

Involvement:

Disaster Day Event

 

“Time and time again people at the school offered incredible opportunities like Disaster Day, Capstone, and Practicum that would not be available anywhere else. It is an extraordinary place.”

 

After working as a nurse for several years, I became more interested in the systematic problems of healthcare than in the problems of the individuals seeking healthcare, so I shifted my focus and started my graduate degree in epidemiology at the School of Public Health.

Hurricane Harvey made its first landfall the day my cohort started orientation. My family's home was flooded and many people lost their homes and property. Some died. It was devastating for the city. 

That disaster consumed my academic activities. I started by studying Twitter data gathered during the first days of the storm, simply because it was available. Someone at the university happened to be mining tweets at the time and offered them to a professor at the School of Public Health, who offered them to me. In learning to manipulate that data, I became fascinated by the capacity of new technologies to move information among people. Mankind has never had this capacity before, and I am convinced we can use it to improve the way we respond to disasters. 

As I wrap up my time at the school, I am grateful to have spent two years in a place that allowed me to follow these ideas as far they would take me. Time and time again people at the school offered incredible opportunities like Disaster Day, Capstone, and Practicum that would not be available anywhere else. It is an extraordinary place. My classmates and I had the privilege of learning cutting-edge ways to deal with public health problems. There are big problems in the world, but we are bigger!