Kayleigh Robbins, a GPH alumni, was recently accepted to the epidemiology program at the University of Colorado in Denver. Kayleigh graduated from UM in 2014 with a major in biology and a minor in Global Public Health. She chose to complete the GPH minor after taking Epidemiology 101. She loves that public health often addresses underlying causes for many of our health issues and decided that the GPH minor would help her expand upon that idea. During her time at UM, she was a found-ing leader of the Repair the World Coalition right after it was established. That year, the club worked to bring a screening of the film "Girl Rising" to UM during Tunnel of Oppression week. Currently, Kayleigh works with a great group of people at Community Health Partners, a community health clinic located in Bozeman and Livingston Montana. They work to provide preventative healthcare to many uninsured or low income families and individuals. Community Health Partners' vision is "100% access, zero disparity for all." Kayleigh is primarily interested in learning about controlling and preventing chronic disease. She was accepted to the Colorado School of Public Health in Denver, where she is excited to focus on chronic disease epidemiology and hopes to take advantage of research opportunities there.
I enrolled in the International Development Studies and Global Public Health minors the spring of my freshman year. At that time, I had just changed my major to Community Health and had no idea what was in store for me. Now, four years later, I reflect on the knowledge I have gained from taking international focused courses and the experiences I have been honored to take part in.
Through enrolling in these two minors, I have been introduced to the multifaceted world of development management, which overarches into every field and course of study. Themes of these courses include the social construction of the environment and its impact on development, the effect of globalization on rural Nepalese communities, and analyzing the complex notions around development administration. The central question to my studies has been how can we maintain cultural diversity and honor traditions while also increasing the quality of life through development? Through these courses, I have been introduced to more sustainable forms of development, such as the concept of Community Driven Development in which community members dictate what changes are being made in their community. I had the privilege to work within an African organization that emphasized community stake-holding where I saw these strategies in action.
In my first major expedition abroad I worked in a township outside of Cape Town, South Africa with the AIDS organization, Treatment Action Campaign. This experience confirmed my love of public health as well as my fascination with Africa. Through observing and working in this capacity, I was able to apply the skills and considerations I was introduced to in my International Development Studies and Global Public Health courses. These minors challenge the distribution of development worldwide and explore how individual communities are reacting to globalization. Working on the ground in a developing community only furthered my interest in understanding how specific communities are blending their cultural traditions with the “modern” world.
The courses I have taken through International Development Studies and Global Public Health have provided me with a newfound respect and interest for developing countries. Through this exposure, I have settled on working in public health in developing countries specifically in the field of healthcare access. After graduating in the spring I hope to gain additional experience in Africa and then volunteer with the Peace Corps while continuing my global public health education. The experience of working abroad, meeting new people and being introduced to a
new culture completely made my head spin. Whether or not students intend to continue their career internationally, abroad experiences provide exposure to different cultures which challenge your perspectives on life and people, resulting in the most necessary shake-up of your life.
Rachael Schmoker, Alumna: Community Health major, International Development
Studies and Global Public Health minors, Peace Corps Specializations in Health and
Youth in Community Development.