Student Deanna Barath

Deanna Barath came to the University of Maryland School of Public Health's doctoral program in health services administration in the fall of 2016. In September 2017, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced she is one of 40 students who were awarded $120,000 over four years through the foundation's Health Policy Research Scholars program.

The Health Policy Research Scholars program is led by George Washington University with support from the foundation, and Barath, MPH, will work with scholars from across the country to collaboratively tackle persistent health challenges by creating innovative solutions through research.

Her research will focus on improving health equity for vulnerable populations, and she is interested in implementing science and translating research into community practice and policy. Barath said she hopes her research will help find new strategies to better utilize and implement the adverse childhood experience survey into the clinical setting. The research could help improve management of chronic conditions and increase access to community resources.

Barath said she is also interested in helping to evaluate and implement accreditation efforts, quality improvement and performance management systems to help create a more efficient public health system that effectively serves communities.

In one sentence, what is public health to you?

It’s the interdisciplinary health system that affects the health of entire populations, where so much progress has been made but so much more can be achieved.

What inspired you to study public health?

I personally fell through the cracks of a broken and fragmented health care system, which inspired me to get healthy enough to change it.

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

Public health is everywhere and different challenges rise to the surface when looking at the field of public health through various lenses. I think one of the major challenges we are witnessing is health reform. The challenge is not just the policy development, but also, its implementation. It is very important that the changes in our health care system be transparent, clear, and actionable to the end user. As health care moves away from the four walls of a hospital, there are are many questions that must be answered. Below are questions I hope to explore and expand upon while on my PhD  journey:

How are community partners servicing their community members?

How are primary care physicians being lopped into the transition of services and educating their patients?

What role will hospitals play in population health and has access to health care services become more equitable?

How will community members be informed about where and when to seek care and other various health resources, and how are populations being affected by the changes? 

Why did you choose public health at UMD?

The faculty in the Health Services Administration program were all involved in applied research and involved in the community in some way or another. This was the deciding factor for me. The proximity to our nation’s Capital, federal agencies, and many other national health organizations created an opportunity cost unmatched by other institutions I was interested in.