Sivan graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Community Health in December 2016.  Sivan is currently working with City Year Washington DC working with at risk students as a mentor in the DC public school system and will begin medical school in summer, 2017.

In one sentence, what is public health to you?

Public health is the study of all aspects of life that affect all types of people, it is the acknowledgement that one’s environment, social settings, self-efficacy, and so much more play a critical role in their health and quality of life.

What inspired you to study public health?  

I was excited to learn about public health because I had little exposure to such concepts in high school. I was also interested in being pre-med and felt that a public health background could be extremely useful in a clinical setting.

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

I believe access to preventative medicine is a critical concept of public health. Resources such as nutritional foods, recreational facilities, and health education are not accessible to all communities. An emphasis on primary and secondary prevention will not only improve population health but it’s hypothesized that it will reduce the need for expensive medical interventions, which will therefore decrease healthcare costs. I think it is the responsibility of educated public health professionals to focus on this issue.

Why did you choose public health at UMD?

Due to UMD’s accredited School of Public Health and incredible professors I felt it was the ideal place to study public health. I was exposed to many opportunities to practice what I was learning in the classroom in a hands-on environment. Both the curriculum and these experiences better prepared me to enter into the workforce and contribute to the public health field.

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

As a community health major, I was introduced to public health policy, the impact of individual’s social determinants on their health, and the challenges of instilling behavior change. As I continued to be exposed to public health theories, I was struck by how important and applicable these concepts are to medicine. Through my experiences, I realized that the use of public health practices in the context of direct medical care improves patient outcomes. The knowledge I gained from my undergraduate degree at the School of Public Health will allow me to better serve the community as a physician.

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

My most meaningful involvement in a student organization was with the Peer Education group for the University Health Center. As a junior I applied to the HEALTH Works program in the hopes of giving back to a campus and community I felt had provided me with so much. HEALTH Works is a group of 18 undergraduate students that are trained and educated in health education. We present to student groups and classes, upon request, on topics such as wellness, sleep, stress, mental health, suicide, etc. We are peers and we are leaders. As a HEALTH Works peer educator for the University Health Center, I was able represent something greater than myself, and to lead and provide guidance to those I encountered.