Student Spotlight Kimberly Levitt
As a public health professional, I am excited to make it my priority to fight back and ensure that I am doing whatever I can to make the world a place for everyone, regardless of race, gender, or sexuality," said Levitt.
We recently caught up with Kimberly Levitt, MPH after her recent trip to London, where she conducted research on PrEP availability in England. The trip, which was made possible through the Ambassador Scholarship through the MCPHS Center for International Studies, was an opportunity for Levitt to apply what she’s learned in the classroom and to gain first-hand knowledge for her independent research.
As she prepares to graduate, Levitt sat down with us to talk about her experience in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program and her role in founding the Public Health Society, the first graduate public health club at MCPHS.
Why do you find the public health field so exciting?
The public health field is ever changing. In the current political climate, important public health priorities such as disease prevention, affordable healthcare, a clean environment, equality, and even science itself are all under attack. As a public health professional, I am excited to make it my priority to fight back and ensure that I am doing whatever I can to make the world a place for everyone, regardless of race, gender, or sexuality. It is exciting because it is important.
The public health field covers so many areas, including epidemiology, biostatistics, and environmental health. You’re especially passionate about global health. Can you tell us more about that?
When I use the term global health, I think of it as an umbrella term, and that umbrella covers the whole world. Global health can also include epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, and so much more, and that’s why I enjoy it. It emphasizes the overall health of populations and helps identify risk factors and causes of health problems. It combines my passion for traveling, health education, and prevention into one.
You earned your bachelor’s degree in exercise science and health and wellness from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, so you already had a passion for public health as an undergraduate student. What made you want to pursue public health at the graduate level?
Attending GWU in the nation’s capital was a great experience where I gained knowledge in the different areas of science. I wanted to pursue public health at the graduate level to grow as a student and develop technical skills specifically related to my areas of interest. It was the next step to achieving my aspirations.
You are founding president of the Public Health Society at MCPHS. Tell us about the organization. What type of work do you do?
We are the first graduate public health club at the University. The club provides students with opportunities for association and interaction with faculty and other students. The goal is to develop and promote the health and well-being of others through education, research, practice, and leadership. We are still new, so we have not hosted too many events. To name a few, we have organized an MCPHS MPH alumni panel, naloxone training, documentary screening, and a Greater Boston Food Bank food drive.
You recently identified a need for more content about LGBTQ health on the American Public Health Association’s website, and you approached the APHA about becoming a featured writer. What has that experience been like?
My experience writing for the APHA has been educational! I have the opportunity to write about various international LGBTQ health topics, including same-sex marriage in Australia and the impact on health, discussions of condoms and immorality in some countries, and the cruelty toward gays occurring in the Chechnya region of Russia. My latest blog post is about access to PrEP under England’s National Health Service.
What are your future career goals within the public health field?
My future goal is to pursue a PhD program, as I think teaching is very rewarding. I hope to become a professor of public health at a university and use my academic background and personal experiences as a tool to influence the next generation. I am also interested in continuing research in LGBTQ health education.
Why did you choose to attend MCPHS to earn your advanced degree?
I chose MCPHS because I wanted to gain knowledge from experienced faculty in multiple disciplines such as health promotion and education, social and behavioral health, epidemiology, and community health sciences.
Why would you recommend the MPH program at MCPHS?
I would recommend the MPH program because I am taught by professors who understand and relate to the concerns that public health officials face. The program has allowed me to think beyond the classroom and to see how applicable and useful what I am learning is in the real world. Over the past two years, I have developed relationships with faculty members who have helped motivate me to achieve my goals, as well as peers who allow me to see things from varying perspectives. Each of my professors has mentored me and shaped me into an individual who is prepared to take on the challenges that lie ahead.
The Master of Public Health program, offered on the Boston campus and online, covers the five core disciplines of public health, including biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health science, health policy and management, and social and behavioral sciences.