Featured Students

Meet Miguel, Samantha and Jensen, three incoming students joining HPM this fall 



Miguel Hernandez, MHA '21

Tell us a bit about your path to graduate school.
As a recipient of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid, I know first-hand how vital these programs are. This inspired me to pursue a career in public health. I want to better understand how investing in the health of vulnerable populations, by focusing on social determinants of health, can move us towards a healthier, more productive society. I’d like to focus on how occupational health, developing entitlement programs, increasing healthcare access and providing healthy food options can move the US in a healthier direction. I believe Mailman provides the opportunity to obtain the skills necessary for me to use my passion to reach my goals.

What are a few things you are looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to interacting with individuals with diverse identities and from all walks of life. Culture plays a huge role in effecting change, and the level of diversity in New York City will help me understand the world through a variety of lenses. Having the chance to meet people from different backgrounds will increase my cultural competency. Also, I’m excited to take advantage of all the available opportunities that will enhance my public health education, such as guest speakers, networking events, and work and practicum opportunities. I look forward to being surrounded by passionate individuals with different interests in public health.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?
Graduating with an MHA in Health Policy & Management will give me the tools I need to ensure that vulnerable populations have equitable access to the resources they deserve. With the skills I gain at the Mailman School of Public Health, I hope to influence policies and legislation to ensure that an individual’s zip code, race, ethnicity, income, gender or orientation is never a disadvantage to their health.


 

Samantha Meisels, MHA '21

Tell us a bit about your path to graduate school.
As a Senior Associate of Financial and Operations Management at Monter Cancer Center, of Northwell Health, I value strong leadership in healthcare. At Monter, I examine our monthly financial and volume trends, evaluate our chemotherapy treatment chair utilization and review our staff to patient ratios. In order to deliver the best possible care, I need to learn about the reasons behind healthcare policies as well as new strategies to approach the constantly changing healthcare environment. Although I do not directly deal with patients, it is extremely rewarding to know that the work I do every day does much to help improve the lives of our cancer patients.

How do you see Mailman, and specifically HPM, meeting with your academic and professional goals?
I connect with HPM’s mission and focus—improving access and quality of care to patients, while also containing costs. Being an effective public servant means not only being concerned for a population’s well-being, but also working to ensure that whatever service is provided is in fact beneficial and accessible to the public. Learning in this department will allow me to explore the “bigger picture” concepts of healthcare and understand how to recognize the healthcare disparities and challenges that people face around the world.

What are a few things you are looking forward to?
I am excited to study real-life challenges that current healthcare leaders face, such as accessibility, affordability, efficiency and how to keep up with current technological advancements. Furthermore, I look forward to learning from the diverse perspectives of the students in my classes. Their unique backgrounds will help me explore healthcare through new lenses, challenging me to step out of my comfort zone and think differently about healthcare. Finally, I am excited to be a part of the Mailman community. Mailman offers a wide variety of student organizations, which enable students to discuss their thoughts and ideas.


 

Jensen Hyde, Accelerated MPH '20

Tell us a bit about your path to graduate school.
I didn’t plan to pursue a public health degree from the outset. I am a board-certified internal medicine physician by training, and I specialize in hospital medicine. I absolutely love what I do and love the challenges that come with the day-to-day practice of clinical medicine. One of the things I have enjoyed the most is working with residents and other medical trainees. I’ve become increasingly involved in the academic side of medicine during my time in practice and find it incredibly rewarding. However, I have frequently felt that I could use more tools to increase my impact as a teacher and as a leader. I therefore began researching programs that might allow me to do just that which is when I came across Columbia’s accelerated MPH—it seemed like an ideal fit!

How do you see Mailman, and specifically HPM, meeting with your academic and professional goals? 
While I am excited for all that the core MPH courses have to offer, it is really the HPM track that aligns most with my goals. In order to be the best teacher and faculty member that I can be, I must be able to navigate the healthcare system in which our training program functions. Understanding the administrative workings of this system and pursuing research projects to improve these systems will be beneficial as I seek to have the most impact within and beyond my department. What many don’t realize, is that the majority of medical training programs function primarily or exclusively within the public healthcare systems that serve the underserved of our communities. Improving medical training programs has a direct and meaningful effect on our local and community healthcare: this is where I can make a difference.

What are a few things you are looking forward to?
I am very much looking forward to being back in the classroom. Medicine is a field of lifelong learning, and the majority of my recent academic pursuits have run parallel to clinical practice. I look forward to refreshing research fundamentals and dedicating time to quality improvement projects.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?
I hope to broaden my understanding of healthcare administration as well as the interface between healthcare systems and academic medicine. Without a solid, foundational understanding of these systems, one cannot hope to evoke meaningful and lasting change. I strongly believe that we need physician leaders stepping up at the hospital level and beyond to ensure that our healthcare systems are as efficient as possible for the providers and patients who deliver and receive care within them every day. Lastly, I hope to fortify and expand my research and teaching abilities in order to better serve the medical trainees whom I hope to continue working with throughout my career.