Juliana Bennington

MPH ‘16 in Health Policy and Management

My route to the Mailman School was circuitous, detouring into accounting and temping in New York City. While working in non-health jobs, I would come across articles that would remind me of my interest in health policy. I decided I needed to explore this interest more and pursue a career in public health, so I applied to the Mailman School. I have not regretted my decision.

I have learned more than I could have imagined during my first year in the MPH program in Health Policy and Management. I completed my undergraduate degree at a small liberal arts college, where I majored in anthropology with minors in economics, public policy, and physics. I was intimidated to start my public health degree at Columbia, as I was not accustomed to large, lecture-based classes and had not taken any formal public health courses. Luckily, the Core allowed me to reinforce the knowledge I had, integrate new concepts and information, and appreciate the importance of a multidisciplinary perspective on public health. Additionally, the Core allowed me to interact and foster friendships with students from every department, students with whom I am honored to be grouped.

I had long been interested the health gap adolescents occupy, a space between pediatric care and the onset of adult health issues. I completed an internship at the World Health Organization in Geneva my junior year of college where I was able to explore this gap. It was there that I realized my specific area of interest is the health effects of excluding young people from health policy or denying them health services.

For my practicum, I am working with the youth team of Women Deliver, a nonprofit that advocates for the rights of women and girls, to address the health issues facing adolescents and young people, and helping to ensure they are included in the post-2015 agenda. As I enter my second year at the Mailman School, I look forward to stimulating classes with professors who are the thought leaders in their fields, as well as to continued engagement with my peers as we prepare for careers in public health.