For health promotion major Kennedy Camp, the field of public health has offered the perfect space for her to pursue both her interests in medicine and healthcare and her passion for service.
“Prior to entering this program, all I really knew about public health was epidemiology and vaccinations,” she said. “I found the social determinants of health to be the most fascinating because I did not know all of the factors that went into determining health outcomes. It really showed me the importance of health policy and how changes can be made on a larger scale to ensure health equity.”
Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion (BSHP)
Certificate in Strategic Health and Risk Communication
What attracted you to a degree in the field of public health?
I have had an interest in medicine and healthcare ever since I could remember; it all started with my own health challenges that began when I was a child. Through my own experiences, I have come to realize how complex the human body is. I always want to know why or how these illnesses happen and how they can be treated or prevented. So, it was natural for me to choose a degree in public health, because it embodies many of my interests and can be applied across many disciplines.
Why did you choose your particular concentration? Certificate?
When I initially started at UGA I was intending on pursuing the Behavioral Medicine or Health Services emphasis of Health Promotion with hopes of becoming a doctor or physician assistant. After taking the Health and Wellness class my freshman year, I learned more about the social determinants of health and became more drawn towards the Health Promotion Emphasis. I then realized that I wanted to focus more on providing resources and programs that prevent poor health as opposed to being the one treating diseases. I also decided to pursue the Strategic Health and Risk Communication Certificate because I felt that it would give me another perspective on public health and help me to develop a skill that would be useful in any career.
Are you engaged in any interesting research or outreach projects?
I have served as a Fontaine Peer Educator for the University Health Center since my sophomore year. Being a peer educator has deepened my knowledge on many health risks that college students may face such as navigating boundaries and relationships, alcohol and substance use, and engaging in sex. In this role, I have further developed my leadership and interpersonal skills as I have talked to many students and helped to take a harm reduction approach. I have enjoyed working with the other peer eds to create programs, educational content and promotional materials that are focused on promoting healthier behaviors.
What do you consider to be the highlight of your time as a public health student?
The highlight of my time as a public health student was studying abroad with the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. This past summer I had the opportunity to attend the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France. I sat in on many health-related discussions and workshops hosted by Havas Health, Pfizer, and Boston Children’s Hospital just to name a few. In addition to attending the festival, I also completed two international Advertising & Public Relations courses through this study abroad experience. I learned a lot about measures being taken to improve health equity and creative approaches to communicating health at this festival. I had an amazing time exploring France and I made a lot of new connections.
Do you have any volunteer experiences that were especially meaningful?
I was assigned to the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia for the Foundations in Health Promotion Professional Practice and Service class. I really enjoyed going to the food bank each week and sorting food for families and individuals that are in need. Being able to work directly with the families doing food distribution on the weekends had a tremendous impact on me. It was amazing seeing those who are being directly impacted by my service and having the opportunity to just connect with them. I wanted to get my sorority involved with this work, so I organized my Greek Council to participate in food organizing and distribution at Hill Baptist Church. This service has also helped to prepare me for my Policy Analysis Public Health Class. It has given me greater insight into the needs of those experiencing food insecurity as we work with our community partner, the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia to provide policy recommendations regarding SNAP Uptake.
What did you do for your internship? What did you learn? What was your biggest challenge?
I worked as a marketing intern at Pfizer for the past two summers in the Rare Diseases and Inflammation & Immunology departments. I learned a lot about how a large corporation like Pfizer is run. There are so many moving parts and things that happen behind the scenes to ensure the company’s success. I learned a lot about myself and had the opportunity to learn from others in the company about their career pathway. The biggest challenge that I faced was navigating remote work. I worked on a global team my first year and spent a few weeks abroad during my second year. It can be challenging figuring out time zones and communications preferences, but after getting adjusted it became easier.
What activities/achievements/awards during your time here are you most proud of?
In the Spring semester of my freshman year, I received the highest honor in Girl Scouting upon completing my Girl Scout Gold Award Project. I opened a food pantry in the Atlanta University Center to help alleviate food insecurity among college students. Part of this project was funded through a grant I won from Toyota Financial Services as well as donations from local organizations. My pantry is still thriving to this day on the campus of Morris Brown College and has received tremendous support from community partners who ensure that it is still running. Hundreds of students continue to benefit from this pantry each year and have expressed how much it has helped them during their times of need.
Do you have any external activities that you are passionate about?
I am a member of the Eta Xi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., where I currently serve as vice president. This sorority has given me the opportunity to foster deeper sisterhoods while also becoming more of a servant leader. I have enjoyed coordinating and planning educational programs and philanthropic events that serve the local Athens community. Some of these events include our annual Pink Ice Ball which benefited Divas Who Win this year, and Fortune 1908 which educated students on entrepreneurship. In addition to these events, I have loved volunteering with my sisters at various service sites across Athens and making a positive impact.
What insights have you gained as a public health student?
As a public health student, I have learned a lot about the varying aspects that go into health. Prior to entering this program, all I really knew about public health was epidemiology and vaccinations. I found the social determinants of health to be the most fascinating because I did not know all of the factors that went into determining health outcomes. It really showed me the importance of health policy and how changes can be made on a larger scale to ensure health equity. I have also gained insight into the United States healthcare system which is very different from other countries. Health in this country is not a right, but a privilege; this has led to many health disparities.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation I plan to continue my education at the University of Georgia and obtain an MPH in Health Policy and Management.
Posted December 12, 2023.