Student Profile: Emily Reeves

Emily Reeves, a Master of Public Health student concentrating in epidemiology, is passionate about unbiased, equal access to reproductive healthcare.

May 2020

Master of Public Health (MPH), Epidemiology

Bachelor of Science (BS), Health Promotion, College of Public Health, University of Georgia

Covington, GA

What attracted you to a degree in public health?
I have always been interested in health on a large scale. Investigating and understanding the reasons behind morbidity are so important. I love that public health uses a holistic approach to understand all contributing factors to a healthy life. I enjoyed learning about health promotion during my undergraduate degree and wanted to pursue my MPH to further my understanding of epidemiology.

Why did you choose your particular concentration?
Epidemiology is such a dynamic field. You can apply the concepts to any public health specialty, and I was attracted to that flexibility.

What did you do for your internship?
I am currently interning for District 2 Public Health Department in Gainesville, GA. I work in the epidemiology department and have enjoyed seeing the intricacies of field epidemiology. My current project is investigating the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases in the district. I started just as COVID-19 was gaining traction, so I also work on briefing reports and outbreak communication materials.

Do you have any volunteer experiences that were especially meaningful?
During undergrad I traveled to Ecuador for a few months and volunteered for a project geared towards children working in the street markets. I worked with a pop-up health clinic that screened adults for diabetes and high blood pressure and children for dental issues. We distributed toothbrushes and taught the kids how to use them. The project also provided healthy snacks and educational games to the kids. This is where I first became interested in public health and learned to appreciate a holistic approach to improving health.

What do you consider to be the highlight of your time at the College?
This past summer I worked as a research assistant with Dr. Swartzendruber on her Reproductive Health Services project. I am especially passionate about unbiased, equal access to reproductive health, so working on that project was impactful for me. I have many highlights working with the College and they almost always included research. I am incredibly appreciative of dedicated professors like Dr. Callands, Dr. Welton, and Dr. Swartzendruber, who go above and beyond to uplift their students and involve them in research.

What achievements/awards during your time here are you most proud of?
I am currently working on my capstone project concerning family planning method of choice in Planned Parenthood clinics. My research is investigating the effect of family planning grants on method of choice. I find family planning to be an incredibly important resource, and I believe it is imperative that all women have access to their choice of contraception. While it is a work in progress, I anticipate the results to be used to inform an understanding of barriers to family planning, especially among low-income and uninsured patients. My coursework, hands-on research experience, and support from Dr. Swartzendruber have provided me the ability to effectively analyze clinical data and use the results for practical application.

What are your plans after graduation?
I am currently seeking opportunities in epidemiology and/or data analytics. I am looking forward to joining the public health workforce and I am grateful for all that I have experienced through UGA College of Public Health.

Posted on March 16, 2020.