Funmi Makinde, MPH Candidate

Funmi Makinde is pursuing her Master of Public Health in Behavioral and Community Health. She attained an Assistant Editor fellowship with the American Public Health Association (APHA) and was tasked with attracting, engaging and recruiting younger readership for the journal. She recruited five others who she worked with to reinvigorate the online presence of one of the largest public health journals in the world and organized and facilitated all of this group's meetings at APHA headquarters in Washington, DC and virtually. Read about her experience in the piece she authored in the American Journal of Public Health. 


In one sentence, what is public health to you?

Public health is inspiring and helping communities to be their healthiest in all aspects.

What inspired you to study public health?

I was inspired to study public health because it reaches across all disciplines and people. It allows me to have the maximum impact on disadvantaged communities.

What is your current employment or volunteer position? 

I am currently interning with the Center for School Health and Education at the American Public Health Association. The Center’s mission is to decrease high school dropout, and I am working on projects that analyze and evaluate data/programs related to improving youth and adolescent health via School Based Health Care.

What do you think is the biggest challenge that the public health field should be focusing on?

I believe this challenge is pushing the notion of “health in all policies”, and increasing dialogue about key issues that are often overlooked as not being important or relevant in communities. The challenge is two-fold in that the field must also further investigate (and properly identify) root causes of such issues.

Why did you choose public health at UMD? 

I chose public health at UMD because I really liked the close-knit community feeling I get here. I believe that the faculty, staff, and students create an extremely supportive environment for students to reach their full potential in the field, and I have benefited from this greatly. It has also made life easier since I have been working in D.C.

What has been your favorite course taken as a public health student so far and why?

My favorite course so far has been HLTH 606, because it helped shape my professional goals and research interests. The course was a great introduction to the diversity of public health and challenges facing the field.

How has your degree program at UMD's School of Public Health shaped your career goals? 

The coursework and additional experiences (forums, events, and classroom discussions) that I have had while pursuing my MPH degree have exposed me to public health issues and disparities that I never paid attention to before. These issues have influenced where I would like to work, with whom, when, and why.

What person or experience had the greatest impact on your during your degree program? 

I attended one of the Collegium of Scholars forums last fall, with Dr. Keon L. Gilbert about “black male health”. This experience inspired me to think outside the box when it comes to addressing controversial public health issues. Now, as I pursue my degree, I am constantly reminded of the power of community, dialogue, and persistence in a field as complex as this one.