Student Testimonials

Charles Chen "I was inspired to study public health in order to find a way to impact people on a grander scale. This means affecting not just the individual, but also the family, community, and society. I realized that there was a whole other aspect of addressing health and wellness that doesn’t focus purely on medicine. For example, vaccination campaigns, HIV/STI awareness, and nutrition are all crucial to health. The University of Miami has a strong academic history and it’s located in a unique environment." - Charles Chen


yasmin dias-guichot "Having lived in many countries around the world, I gravitated towards the University of Miami’s MPH Program because even though it is a broad field, everyone can find their niche. Also, UM is an active participant in improving the health of the entire Miami community, which resonated with my beliefs and interests.” – Yasmin Dias-Guichot



Daphney Dorcius"I grew up in a country where access to adequate health care is a luxury. Too many times, I have witnessed the loss of life in Haiti due to the lack of proper medical care and limited access to medical facilities. Growing up in a family of physicians, one of them being my mother, I developed a strong desire to improve the health of individuals through medicine and also participate in the development of healthier communities. Therefore, I decided to earn a Master’s of Public Health at the University of Miami to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.” – Daphney Dorcius


yendi fontenard"After graduating with a BS in medical science, I knew I wanted to pursue an MPH degree. Since I am from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, I narrowed my search to Florida to avoid the extreme cold weather! I applied to other schools in Florida and the University of Miami, but ultimately chose UM because of the variety of courses offered and the capstone opportunities excited me.” – Yendi Fontenard


juhi goswamy"I truly believe in the power of education. I think as aspiring physicians, we are trained to listen to patients, but we often forget the power that they hold in their own care and self-management. I believe that we should empower our patients to understand their medical condition, ask the right questions, and take responsibility for themselves. I’ve dedicated my medical education thus far to researching and creating resources to accomplish this goal. Something else I’ve come to realize is the fact that each community is unique, be it in the U.S. or India, and I believe that a particular challenge for the field of public health will be identifying lapses in knowledge and ways to effectively present educational material in a culturally appropriate context.” – Juhi Goswamy


isabel griffin"A little over two years ago, I was a part of a medical team that traveled to Coffee Bay, South Africa. While in this rural community, my team partnered with the health department and a local Christian ministry to set up a temporary clinic to provide HIV, STD, TB, and malaria screenings to over 3,000 men, women, and children, as well as to produce these patients with the necessary treatments. After returning from South Africa, I moved to Miami to begin earning my Master of Public Health degree. I was shocked to discover that the same poverty and disease that I saw in Coffee Bay were also in Miami. This experience is just one of many that drive my passion for protecting global health through public health surveillance and epidemiology.” – Isabel Griffin


Audrey Jacobsen"The most rewarding experience of my studies so far has been volunteering as the Logistics Coordinator at the Lotus Wellness Clinic, a clinic for homeless women in Miami. The women we saw at this clinic had often been failed by the medical system and this clinic was their only point of care. The impact of public health interventions like STD screening and pap smears was incredibly beneficial and valuable to these patients.” – Audrey Jacobsen


aly jaffer"The world we live in is rapidly changing, and learning to see health from a different perspective was essential to me. The first time I realized I wanted to get into public health was when I was in disasters and complex emergencies course, where we studied the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. The reality that health wasn’t just acute care provided immediately after the event, but also systemic level issues caused by the lack of prevention and policies, really opened my eyes.” – Aly Jaffer


chase knickerbocker"I worked with a small non-profit organization that partnered with schools in Guatemala and had a variety of programs run through the school communities. One component was to educate mothers about the importance of preconception and prenatal care, especially through proper nutrition. Education sessions focused on what types of products and food were available locally, preparation, nutrition facts, and most importantly, how and why their baby’s development could be affected. I saw both the need and desire for this kind of education and wanted to gain further experience and knowledge by studying public health.” – Chase Knickerbocker


jeffrey lin"Having worked for many years in graphic design an advertising, I understand the power of branding when it comes to moving public opinion, and I wanted to apply that knowledge to medicine and public health. A dual-degree four-year program, such as the one at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, fully integrates medical studies with public health studies and brings these fields together in a unique way. I hope to apply my expertise in communication to the dissemination of broad-based messages regarding lifestyle choices for the prevention of chronic disease, food, and water safety, injury prevention, as well as environmental control.” – Jeffrey Lin


henry olano"I received my BA in Chemistry and Chemical Biology from Cornell University. When deciding where I wanted to continue my education, my ideal school had two major characteristics: high-quality academics and be in a metropolitan location. The University of Miami is the perfect mix of the two. I chose UM because of its academic rigor, diverse student body, and great location.” – Henry Olano


daniella orihuela"I am highly interested in global health an international medicine. In close proximity to Latin America and the Caribbean, Miami is ideal for pursuing international research opportunities with the well-connected public health faculty. Plus, as a University of Miami alumni, I loved the idea of continuing my graduate education in such a diverse and beautiful area!” – Daniela Orihuela


stefania prendes-alvarez"I decided to pursue an MPH during my 3rd year of medical school at the University of Miami. I wanted to choose a program with a strong curriculum in health education that would also provide me with ample opportunities for hands-on community work. Additionally, the Department of Public Health Sciences has incredible faculty members that are enthusiastic about educating our country’s next generation of public health scientists. I know that I will be a better physician and patient/community advocate thanks to the public health education and training that I received at UM.” – Stefania Prendes-Alvarez


daisy ramirez ortiz"I chose the University of Miami to pursue my postgraduate studies because it’s located in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the United States. I wanted to be part of a university that provides an excellent education and expands my knowledge through research, training, and community activities. UM is a university that believes that the key to being a great public health professional is being part of the community, working in the community, and applying what we’ve learned in the classroom to the community.” – Daisy Ramirez Ortiz


johanna segovia"Prior to starting my public health program, I worked with underserved communities of the Washington, DC metropolitan region. It was during this time that I became increasingly aware of the disparities populations face, these ranging from poverty to harrowing experiences of human trafficking. Being among people who have lived through these experiences is what inspired me to become a public health leader. Their voices are what instilled the passion to craft effective, empowering, and culturally competent solutions to attenuate the health disparities among vulnerable populations.” – Johanna Segovia


joshua sznol"When I was working in basic science on cancer biology of melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, and breast cancer, I was struck by the patients in our studies and number of young adults dying of these fatal diseases. I was inspired to study public health because of the emphasis on understanding an individual’s environment in determining disease” – Joshua Sznol