Born and raised in Cincinnati, Brigid Higgins, a master’s of public health student and development coordinator for the Cincinnati Cancer Center and UC Cancer Institute, graduated from the University of Dayton with a Political Science degree. With her last semester underway, Higgins says she’s learned a lot from the program and how what is taught in the classroom really plays a factor into the world around us.
Why did you choose the MPH program, and why do you feel an MPH degree is important?
"I have always worked for organizations that have been in health care-related fields, so I knew I wanted to pursue something in that field. When I started exploring different master’s programs, I discovered the MPH program (which is housed in the department of environmental health) and felt that the curriculum allowed for a wide variety of discovery into the world of public health and that it would give me a solid foundation off of which to build a career.
"I think people forget (the) importance (of public health). Public health includes improving our quality of life with increasing life expectancy, worldwide reduction in infant and child mortality and the elimination or reduction of many communicable diseases because of vaccines. Additionally, the field involves quality improvement in health care processes, innovation, policy development and advocacy.”
What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned so far?
"I have taken away so much interesting information from all of my classes overall, but the most interesting was my ‘Understanding Vulnerable Populations’ course. I really enjoyed this class because it exposed me to a better understanding of vulnerable populations. I think many times we look at issues from a one-sided point of view; the way we personally would deal with the issue and not considering other circumstances that people are dealing with. It is a hard realization that different populations have disparities in health care access and quality when access and quality of care have never been an issue for me. It allowed my thought processes to go from a macro-level to a micro-level and allowed me to examine the reasons for these disparities in these particular populations.”
What do you hope to do with your degree?
"I am still trying to figure out what I want to do –when I graduate. I know I would like to stay local and work for one of the hospital systems, perhaps in program planning or project management.”
What do you like to do in your spare time?
"I love traveling. I have a sister who lives in San Francisco and a brother who lives in Houston, so any chance I get to visit them in wine country or in warm weather makes me happy. After graduation I am planning a trip to Alaska with some of my family members, so that will be my next adventure. Other than traveling, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, visiting local breweries, playing sand volleyball or just hanging out.”