Author Archives: Alex Whicker

4 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My MPH

Category : PROspective

By Tony Mufarreh, Class of 2021 RSGA Epidemiology Representative

As the class of 2023 arrives on campus for the first time, there are a few principles you should be living by to help maximize your experince in grad school. Graduate school is unlike any other kind of education. It’s difficult, eye opening, and most likely directly related to your desired career path. For me, it opened doors I didn’t even know existed and gave me a more complete understanding of the field of health. That being said, grad school requires a unique set of skills in order to be successful. As a recent graduate of the Rollins School of Public Health, these are the pieces of advice I wish I had on day one at Rollins.

1. Don’t compare

One thing that I was unprepared to encounter, but which became one of my favorite aspects of grad school, is that people come from all walks of life. Some, like me, were fresh out of an undergraduate program, some worked for a year in a related field, and others have had entire careers under their belts.

Each student is therefore here for a unique reason. For me, I wanted a larger breadth and understanding of the field of public health to integrate as a future healthcare provider, therefore I structured my schedule with a variety of topical courses such as nutritional and obesity epidemiology. Others may spend their time deep in practical learning experiences, working year-round with a local public health agency to advance their careers. Others still are looking towards advanced degrees such as PhD or DrPH, so they find themselves in focused methodology courses.

We are all at a different stage in our careers and headed different directions, so it is nearly impossible and, more importantly, unproductive to compare one student’s journey to another. Something I wish I had been told from day one is to focus on your goals, spend your time where you deem fit, and you will be successful in your area. Learning this lesson early made a world of difference in my experience at Rollins.

2. Network(ish)

Networking has a few different connotations, but it is most often focused on ones professional presentation and a set of calculated strategies to build complex webs of colleagues. However, the reality is that ‘networking’ is not that different from making casual friends. 

We’ve all probably heard how important networking is to finding a decent job or breaking into your field of interest. Starting graduate school, I was nervous about how to go about this. Something I didn’t realize is that networking isn’t that different from building any other relationship, and a friendship with a classmate can be just as valuable as a connection at a job. Your classmates can easily become co-authors on a research paper, partners on social justice and public health initiatives, or even just colleagues in the workforce. Many of my fellow graduates now work in the same divisions at companies — I’ve even collaborated with other students on my Applied Practice Experience (APE).

This also applies to professors and faculty. It won’t be long until you are working side-by-side in the real world, so it’s in your best interest to get to know them! Some of my favorite interactions with faculty were one-on-ones in their office (or virtually) chatting about their projects, their career paths, and even my aspirations in life.

The advice I would give to incoming first years who might be a little intimidated by networking at first is to treat networking as a synonym for making friends. Do this and you will find your network expanding exponentially with meaningful relationships. 

3. Not your “thing”? Do it anyway

The umbrella of public health covers a plethora of fields: epidemiology, behavioral sciences, health policy, and environmental health just to name a few. It’s common for people to have their niche field or interest even before starting school. For example, chronic disease was my forte and the beginning of the program, and at that time, I was uninterested in exploring other fields.

As it turns out, this was a limiting attitude. The universe works in strange ways and often the best opportunities come your way when you least expect them. Infectious disease was definitely not my first choice, but when the COVID-19 pandemic first struck in the middle of my second semester, all hands were called to assist in testing sites, research, and attacking misinformation. Mixing my interest with chronic disease, I found myself on a research study regarding Long-COVID and its risks — and this eventually became my practicum experience.

Going into graduate school, one of the best tips I can give you is to keep an open mind when it comes to work opportunities. They may not come from traditional means or even your initial field of interest but may open more doors for you that you never even knew existed.

4. Keep everything

Information you learn in graduate school is different than anything you’ve previously studied. The difficulty may be slightly higher, but its relevance to your career is, too.

For this reason, I highly suggest you keep (and organize!) everything. Your lecture notes, handouts, homework assignments, textbooks, recommended readings — basically anything you receive in a course or lunch seminar, you should maintain a copy of. Right before we graduated, our cohort created a shared drive of notes and key documents from our core courses, and some continue to reference these in their new jobs. Personally, I use these for various summer projects for easy review!

While it may feel early to be preparing for your eventual career in public health, thinking about these things now will save you later. Everything you learn fom day one on is going to be relevant. Keep everything you can to reference in the future; you never know when you’re going to need to review biostatistics 101 (and you will, trust me).


Those are my 4 tips for being successful at Rollins: Don’t compare, Network(ish), Not your thing? Do it anyway, and Keep everything. Grad school is an amazing experience, full of intellectually challenging coursework, relevant work opportunities, and friendships that will last a lifetime. You will learn so much while you’re here and look back on your time as, for most of you, the beginning of the rest of your life.

Best of luck, if you want to network (i.e. make friends), you can reach me at mufant15 [at] gmail [dot] com.


Anthony (Tony) Mufarreh, MPH (EPI 2021) is currently a first year MD student at Central Michigan School of Medicine. During his time at Rollins, Tony served as Rollins Student Government Association (RSGA) Epidemiology Representative.


Featured Image by Braden Collum on Unsplash

Emory Emergency Medical Services (EEMS)

EEMS has been reinstated under Emory’s Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR). Established in 1992, this volunteer-led organization responds to emergency and 911-based calls in the Emory community. EEMS was the first licensed collegiate medical first responder service in the state of GA. If you are interested in obtaining Basic EMT (EMT-B) and/or Advanced EMT (AEMT) certifications and volunteering with Emory EMS, please fill out this form. If you are currently NREMT certified, EEMS is also looking for already licensed individuals to be volunteers! Contact emoryems [at] emory [dot] edu for questions. 

EH 584 TA Position

The Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health is seeking a Teaching Assistant for EH 584: Built Environment and Public Health; this course is a unique partnership between the Rollins School of Public Health and the Georgia Tech School of City and Regional Planning; students from both RSPH and GA Tech participate in the course together bringing perspectives from both sides.  The instructor is Dr. Arthi Rao with GA Tech.  The full course description can be found here.

If you are interested in applying, forward your resume and a brief statement of interest (no longer than 1-2 paragraphs in length) to Natalie Dionne (natalie [dot] dionne [at] emory [dot] edu).  See below for details.   

EH 584 Built Environment and Public Health (2 credits)
Jointly offered course between RSPH and GA Tech
Friday, 11:00 – 12:55 pm, online, synchronous. Must be available during this time and not have other class conflicts.
Instructor: Dr. Arthi Rao (arthir [at] gatech [dot] eduavrao2 [at] emory [dot] edu)

Seeking a virtual/remote TA for 15 hours per week for the following tasks:

Typical tasks:

  • Coordinate/maintain/monitor both Canvas sites for the Built Environment and Public Health course (EH 584)
  • Attend class (mostly virtual)
  • Serve as a liaison between Emory students and GA Tech professors for course-related functions and activities
  • Assist in preparing class-related materials and lectures
  • Assist in grading and other course-related activities as they arise
  • Assist in doing literature reviews related to public health and built environment topics
  • Assist in data/statistical analysis and journal manuscript preparation

Desired qualifications:

  • Minimally, a second year MPH student
  • Prior coursework in Built Environment, Social Epidemiology or Social Determinants of Health
  • Good working knowledge of Excel and other basic database skills
  • Good working knowledge of statistical software (SAS, SPSS, R, Python, etc.)
  • Good working knowledge of Endnote
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills

Webinar: How students can get involved in Public Health, August 4

Category : News/Events

The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health is hosting a webinar August 4 at 2 PM ET. This webinar will serve as a way for those interested in the field of public health to hear a sample of the possibly trajectories. Through hearing about the various careers working to get a hold on COVID-19 and the variety of entry points into public health, attendees will learn ways that they can begin their careers.

How to register:

Sign up for the webinar here!

Multiple Openings with LA County Acute Communicable Disease Control Epidemiology and Data Unit

Category : Alumni

Heluna Health is hiring multiple positions to work with the Los Angeles County Acute Communicable Disease Control Epidemiology and Data Unit. Selected candidates will be hired by Heluna Health and placed within the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. There are multiple positions available across four job classifications: Epidemiologist, Senior Application Developer, Research Analyst II, and Epidemiology Analyst. All positions will support COVID-19 response efforts and are fully remote. Out-of-state candidates are encouraged to apply as long as they can work Pacific Time hours. More information can be found in the links below. Please note that each link may be used to recruit for multiple teams.

To learn more and apply click on the links below:


Senior Application Developer

Research Analyst II

Epidemiology Analyst

Health Services and Facilities Consultant, Florida Department of Health

Category : Alumni

Your Specific Responsibilities:

This is a highly responsible professional position that requires training, expertise, and experience in public health policy analysis, program evaluation, and statistical analysis.  The incumbent will perform epidemiologic analysis, using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, Florida Youth Surveys, and other secondary data sources to increase the knowledge and understanding of patterns and determinants of chronic disease morbidity and mortality, including tobacco-related conditions, maternal and child health indicators, and health risk behaviors. Programs designed to prevent, reduce, and control chronic disease will also be analyzed and evaluated using epidemiologic and statistical techniques in conjunction with other evaluation and analytic methods.

This position is located in the Division of Community Health Promotion, Public Health Research Epidemiology Section. Public Health Research Unit includes epidemiologic programs, such as the Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) Program, the Florida Cancer Data System (FCDS), Florida Birth Defects Registry (FBDR), Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), Occupational Health and Safety Program (OHSP), the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), and Florida Youth Surveys. The Public Health Research Section has been tasked with providing guidance and expertise to staff conducting research in the Department.

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA) 1: Experience analyzing data using statistical software programs
  • KSA 2: Experience analyzing public health data
  • KSA 3: Experiencing developing, communicating, and disseminating results
  • KSA 4: Experience writing peer-reviewed journal articles and scientific presentations
  • KSA 5: Experience with biostatistics, epidemiology, and/or research and surveillance


Minimum –

  • Ability to perform statistical analysis using statistical software such as SAS and SUDAAN.
  • Ability to plan, organize and coordinate work activities.
  • Ability to complete assignments on time and correctly.

Preferred –

  • Masters-level training in epidemiology, statistics, or a related field of public health.
  • Knowledge of database structure and design.
  • Ability to organize data into logical formats for presentations, reports, publications and other written materials.
  • Ability to update and create new coding.
  • Ability to conduct fact finding research.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with others.
  • Previous experience in public health and statistics.

This job posting closes on 08/06/2021. To learn more and apply click here!

Environmental Epidemiologist, Utah Department of Health

Category : Alumni

Do you have experience in environmental epidemiology? The Utah Department of Health needs you as an Environmental Epidemiologist/Health Assessor to join the Utah APPLETREE Program within the Environmental Epidemiology Program (EEP). The Utah APPLETREE Program is responsible for evaluating and responding to environmental public health issues and is part of a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a federal public health agency. In this role you analyze the relationships between environmental contaminant exposures and public health outcomes by collaborating with other staff and governmental agency partners. Additionally, you respond to environmental health investigations, support emergency preparedness for environmental exposures, and work with other areas and programs to provide support as needed. You also support safe siting activities for the Utah Choose Safe Places Program for Early Care and Education centers. You collaborate and work with local health departments, tribal communities, universities, childcare providers, the public, and stakeholders throughout Utah, and state and federal partners.

Principal Duties 
As the Environmental Epidemiologist/Health Assessor, you will:

  •  Design, conduct, and report on public health assessments and public health consultations, including toxicological investigations and related activities on health impacts of exposure to toxic substances in the environment statewide.
  • Compile, review, analyze and interpret environmental contaminant data and laboratory results to identify possible sources of contamination and determine potential health effects and public health risk.
  • Review health outcome data to evaluate potential links between site contaminants and community health outcomes.
  • Respond to inquiries from the public, local health departments, or tribal communities regarding illness associated with exposures to toxicants from hazardous waste sites.
  • Educate affected communities and local health professionals about site contamination and potential health effects.
  • Develops educational materials and speaks to state or community groups.
  • Support program efforts to implement the Utah Choose Safe Places Program and address environmental health hazards at childcare facilities.
  • Participate in local, regional, and national monthly calls and conferences.
  • Prepare and deliver presentations and trainings to other public agencies and organizations on various environmental health topics.
  • Answer technical questions regarding data, trends or results from environmental health assessments.
  • Interact with public via meetings, telephone, and field visits responding to community health concerns & analyzing health outcome data.
  • Assist in the preparation of advisories, fact sheets, web content, and other marketing and educational material.
  • Work collaboratively with other staff, partners, and stakeholders in the fields of epidemiology, toxicology, and environmental quality.  

The Ideal Candidate

  • Must have a Bachelor’s degree or higher in Environmental Epidemiology, Toxicology, Environmental Science, Public Health, or related field.
  • Must be proficient in R, SAS, or other statistical programming language, as well as Microsoft Office.
  • Must have knowledge of epidemiological data collection procedures.
  • Must possess knowledge of: theory, practices, methods, and techniques of epidemiology and environmental health.
  • Has knowledge of exposure assessment methods used in environmental epidemiology, including biomonitoring, and geographic information system (GIS) approaches.
  • Has skill in analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating epidemiological and statistical data.
  • Has the ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with state and federal environmental agencies, community representatives, and the media.
  • Has substantial oral and written communication skills.
  • Is adept at community outreach and knowledgeable of health education.

Why You Should Join Our Team
This is an opportunity to make a difference. Along with the satisfaction of working with environmental epidemiologists, scientists, and policymakers to support Utah’s healthcare facilities in improving their infection control programs – you will receive great health and retirement benefits, such as, generous paid time off so you can have a positive work life balance. Click here to view a summary of all the benefits we offer.

The Agency 
 To learn more about the APPLETREE Program within the EEP, click here. If offered this position, your continued employment will be contingent upon passing a fingerprint background check.

Supplemental Information

Working Conditions:

  • The typical office setting for this job is adequately lighted, heated and ventilated. However, you may encounter some risks that are associated with any office setting, for example, the safe use of office equipment, avoiding trips and falls, observing fire regulations, etc.
  • Standard Schedule: Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Physical Requirements:

  • Typically, the employee may sit comfortably to perform the work; however, there may be some walking; standing; bending; carrying light items; driving an automobile, etc. Special physical demands are not required to perform the work.

How to Apply:

To learn more and apply to this position click here!

Getting to Know You, August 5

Category : News/Events

Tune in to the Epi Department’s Getting to Know You series Thursday, August 5 from 12-1 PM EST to meet Allison Chamberlain, Ben Lopman, and Kristin Bratton Nelson and hear them talk about what to expect with COVID-19 moving forward!

Register in advance for this meeting here!

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Global Health Communications ORISE Fellow, CDC

Title: Global Health Communications ORISE Fellow

DGHT is seeking a Communications ORISE Fellow who enjoys a fast-paced environment and is seeking experience in communications planning and execution to join our team of qualified, diverse individuals in developing and defining the global communications strategy for the nation’s leading public health agency.

This position is located in Atlanta, GA and supports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Center for Global Health. The qualified candidate will support communications strategies and tactics aimed at engaging key stakeholders and policymakers. This position will provide writing, editing, coordination and administrative support to the Stakeholder and Policymaker Communications team related to CDC’s global HIV and TB efforts as part of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Specifically, this position will provide support in the areas of strategic communications, message development, global health storytelling, print and multi-media materials development, social media strategy and implementation, creative direction, event planning, stakeholder engagement and other related projects.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Support development and distribution of stakeholder and policymaker communications (e.g. newsletters, Updates, blogs, fact sheets, briefing documents, intranet and external website content)
  • Support development of social media strategies and tactics
  • Help communication specialists to translate scientific information into easy-to-understand language for non-scientific audiences.
  • Support the content development, database development, and dissemination of DGHT’s external stakeholder newsletter
  • Support the development of (digital and/or event-based) partnership opportunities and activities to highlight DGHT’s efforts leveraging our stakeholder communications assets
  • Support the development of stakeholder engagement collateral and digital materials
  • Track program activities, deliverables and outcomes using Excel spreadsheets or other tools as needed


  • Bachelor’s, master’s or PhD degree in Journalism, Communications, English, Public Health, Public Policy, or related fields
  • Some experience in the field of communications, including experience developing and executing communication strategies
  • Strong writer and storyteller with ability to write on deadline
  • Some experience developing presentations/slide sets
  • Ability to multi-task effectively without sacrificing quality
  • Strong critical and creative thinker
  • Ability to work independently and as a part of a team
  • An energetic, self-driven, conscientious and organized team player
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills
  • Experience in global health or public health preferred, but not mandatory


  • ORISE fellowships are paid full-time fellowships commensurate with the applicant’s educational attainment.

How to Apply

  • For more information or to apply for this internship, please email Faith Carmichael at fcarmichael [at] cdc [dot] gov
  • The deadline for applying is Friday, July 16, 2021

Applied Epidemiology Fellowship, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists

Category : Alumni

The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) has reopened the Class XIX Applied Epidemiology Fellowship (AEF) program application to accept new applications for placements beginning summer 2021. The new application deadline is Friday, July 23, 2021. The goal of AEF is to provide a high quality on-the-job training experience in applied epidemiology for recent graduates and prepare fellows for long-term career placement at the state and local level. Based on their interests and available positions, fellows are matched to a state or local health agency for two years under the guidance of two experienced mentors.

During their assignment, fellows develop a set of core competency skills related to epidemiologic methods, communication skills, public health practice and policy.

How to Apply
To apply for AEF Class XIX consideration, please view and complete the online application at by Friday, July 23, 2021.
For more information, including eligibility requirements, visit If you have questions about the fellowship application, please contact CSTE via email at aef [at] cste [dot] org or call the National Office at 770-458-3811.