MPH Alumni

Want to learn more about what you can do with your Master of Public Health (MPH)? We encourage both prospective and current students to discover how alumni are using their degrees. Click the link to your area of interest and read their first-person accounts.

MPH Alumni

Katherine Brow, MD, MPH, Class of 2019

Katherine BrowMy experience in the MPH program at UW was amazing! I came into the program not entirely sure what I wanted to do and was really just looking for opportunities to explore my interests in the field of public health. It was immediately clear to me that the MPH faculty and staff are truly dedicated to creating an environment where students can thrive.

I had numerous opportunities to explore my many interests, including field work as a patient advocate for the Center for Patient Partnerships at the UW Law School and my capstone project in implementation science through the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

I felt fully supported throughout my education and greatly appreciated the diversity of talent and interest unique to the MPH program at UW. After my graduation from UW in 2019, I completed medical school at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in 2023 and matched into Obstetrics and Gynecology residency at Washington University in St. Louis.

I feel that by completing my MPH prior to beginning medical school, I have prepared myself to become a physician whose practice and philosophy extends beyond the walls of any clinic or hospital. My background in public health heavily influenced my decision to pursue OBGYN as my specialty given the advocacy and health equity focus that is inherent to the field.

Nina Gregerson, MPH, MCHES, Class of 2016

Nina GregersonPrior to entering the MPH Program, I received my BS in Community Health Education from UW-La Crosse and have served as a public health specialist with Public Health Madison & Dane County, working primarily on tobacco & nicotine prevention efforts, since 2013. While in the MPH program, I was fortunate to continue my employment with Public Health and share my experiences as a local public health professional with my peers.

The MPH program allowed me to hone my skills in policy development and implementation, as well as communicating public health information effectively. In my two years with the MPH program, I served as the co-president of the School of Medicine & Public Health Student Organization. I was also nominated and elected to UW–Madison’s Delta Omega chapter (an honorary society in public health) by MPH faculty and staff.

Since graduating with my MPH in 2016, I now serve as a health education coordinator at Public Health working on housing security, emergency preparedness planning and response efforts, and Public Health Madison & Dane County’s Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan processes. In addition to my work with the health department, I have been a UW–Madison instructor for PHS 370: Intro to Public Health undergraduate course for the past since 2017 and a mentor for students pursuing their master’s degree in public health at UW–Madison. I also maintain a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) certificate, a national credentialing program that ensures competency in the key Areas of Responsibilities for Health Education Specialists.

Not only did the MPH program refine my knowledge and skills in systems, policy, and environmental change strategies, community engagement, and evaluation, it allowed me to build wonderful connections and relationships with faculty and fellow students. I rely on those relationships in many aspects of my personal and professional life!

Laura Jacobson, MPH, Class of 2013

Laura Jacobson I am a public health researcher based in Portland, Oregon. My work focuses on abortion quality of care, medication abortion self-use, and pregnancy and birth outcomes in a global context.

Currently, I am a PhD candidate of Health Systems and Policy at Oregon Health and Science University-Portland State joint School of Public Health. I have a master’s degree in public health and a certificate in global health, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition, I work as a research project manager at the OHSU division of complex family planning and as a consultant with Ibis Reproductive Health and the World Health Organization.

Maria Morgen, MPH, Class of 2022

Maria MorgenMy non-linear career journey encompasses a blend of my passions, experiences, and goals. As a previous elementary school educator and Teach for America alumni, I pursued my Master of Public Health (MPH) with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health to explore the intersection of health and education.

The MPH and Prevention & Intervention Science Graduate Certificate programs offered unique opportunities to learn from collections of expertise, including the network of professionals among my student colleagues. My engagement as a graduate project assistant during my MPH program led me to my current role as the project manager with Early Childhood Health Consultation (ECHC).

Since graduating from the MPH program in 2022 as a Delta Omega member, I can already connect the skills sharpened during my graduate program experience to my holistic view on public health and current work. The ECHC program is in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Children & Families, housed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Human Ecology, and funded by the Preschool Development Grant. It offers free support to early childhood care & education providers through promoting the implementation of best health & safety practices. My work with the ECHC program started during the needs assessment phase, progressed as the program grew into a pilot, and now advances as the program expands to additional communities across Wisconsin. Moving forward, I aim to continue using my passions and experiences to further the health promotion of children and families.

Connor Nikolay, MPH, MIPA, Class of 2022

Connor NikolayAfter graduating from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2019, I worked for the University of Wisconsin Department of Surgery as a program and policy specialist. In 2021,  I enrolled as a dual degree student in the Public Health program and La Follette School of Public Affairs, pursuing my Master of Public Health and Master of International Public Affairs in tandem. The MPH program enabled me to complete both degree programs within two years, while offering exemplary support from the MPH staff and faculty. While attending the program during COVID resulted  in a nontraditional experience, I was still able to bond with my cohort and make some lifelong friends. My experiences with the MPH program allowed me to grow as an individual and provided me with the tools I needed to advance public health.

After graduating from the MPH program, I took a position with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services as a program and policy analyst within the Division of Medicaid Services. Through the MPH program, I gained the knowledge required to develop equitable health policy, work with grants, use a systems thinking approach, and work collaboratively with team members from various different backgrounds.

It is an added bonus to be able to see so many MPH alumni in the halls at DHS and know I have relationships I created during the program to reach out to if I ever need advice or support.

Mariana Quinn, MPH, Class of 2021

Mariana Pasturczak

My two years in the MPH program hold some of the best experiences of my life, even though I was going through the program during the COVID-19 pandemic. I loved being able to engage with students who shared similar passions but brought diverse perspectives to the table. The faculty were always available to talk about classwork and also made an effort to get to know me on a more personal level. The curriculum provided me with strong foundational skills that I feel confident in applying in the workforce.

After graduation, I began a two-year fellowship with the Wisconsin Population Health Service Fellowship Program. I was working simultaneously with the Bureau of Aging and Disability Resources at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and with Centro Hispano of Dane County. I was able to work on a variety of projects ranging from contributing to manuscripts to completing evaluation activities and got a lot of practice facilitating meetings and discussions. Currently, I serve as the Evaluation Coordinator for the Region V Public Health Training Center, housed at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. In this role, I have led the administration of a multi-state survey focusing on the training needs of local health departments, contributed to routine reports, and helped with internal quality improvement activities.

Kong Vang, MPH, Class of 2018

Kong Vang My MPH experience at UW–Madison was fantastic. Although I am naturally shy and reserved, I’ve felt very comfortable with the support I’ve received from faculty and MPH support staff. The MPH classes build on each other very well and I love how applicable everything is to the real world. I especially enjoy having class with students from different professional backgrounds and getting a glimpse into how they would approach health problems. Having this diversity simulates how public health is practiced and how vital teamwork is.

One thing I love about public health, specifically this public health program, is how interdisciplinary it is. My field of research is heavily education focused, but this program is very flexible and allowed me to cross into other disciplines to explore my passion for pipeline programming and health professional development. I attribute my time here in the MPH program to helping me get back on my feet and reapply to medical school — I’m truly grateful to be a part of this program. I have now been admitted to medical school and look forward to continuing my medical education as a Badger here at UW–Madison!

If everything goes as planned, I would love to become a primary care physician (family medicine) and stay in Wisconsin. I see myself heavily engaged with communities of color working to address health disparities. Having this public health knowledge will definitely help me in these pursuits.

Jeff Wu, MPH, Class of 2015

Jeff Wu My background prior to grad school was in health care technology. I worked at Epic for 6 years and then transitioned into data analytics working for a business intelligence company called Qlik. In grad school I did my capstone research through UW Health, working on analytics projects around things like blood utilization, hospital acquired infections, and outcomes analysis of UW Health’s population health programs (like our participation in the MSSP-ACO).

After graduation I got the opportunity to join a great company called Health Catalyst that continues to allow me to leverage my technical knowledge with the amazing education I received at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. Now I apply epidemiological methods to data science and artificial intelligence to help large healthcare providers solve a host of problems and answer complex questions. In my role I participate in the discovery of the breadth of problems by developing surveillance-based analytics of those specific problems such as the management of chronic conditions. I work with clinicians to develop interventions that range from pharmaceutical, behavioral, and environmental and if necessary, develop technical components for those interventions. We then measure and track the progress and success of those interventions and assist our customers in publishing their findings, adding to the literature and advancing the progress of understanding.

In the 2.5 years since I graduated, I’ve been able to work on projects such as predicting patients who may become septic or patients that might be readmitted. I am getting to dip my toes into precision medicine with a current project that is aiming to estimate 10-year survival rates of patients with brain cancer based on a wide range of interventions and personal quality of life choices as well as personal health, demographic and socio-economic qualities.

Emily Hoyer, MD, MPH, Class of 2023

Emily Hoyer I attended UW SMPH as a dual degree student, completing both my MD and my MPH simultaneously. I completed the majority of my MPH coursework during the first of my 5 years of graduate studies, and I cannot state enough how valuable that experience was and has been as I have continued on in my medical training.

I was also in my first year of medical school during the beginning of the COVID pandemic in 2020 and was able to experience firsthand many of the concepts and public health impacts I had learned about during the program.

I graduated in 2023 and entered residency in Internal Medicine at UW Hospital in Madison. Through this program and moving forward with my career, I hope to make community outreach and intervention a continuous part of my career, and I feel that the MPH program prepared me to do this well.

Overall, I would like to work in my local community to improve health literacy, reduce healthcare and access gaps, and help empower communities and individuals to be active participants and advocates for their health and the health of their communities.

MD-MPH Dual Degree Alumni

Mala Mathur, MD, MPH, FAAP, Class of 2006

Mala Mathur I really enjoyed my experiences in the MPH program and would highly recommend the program to all physicians who desire a deeper understanding of our health care system and population health while gaining the tools and expertise needed to work collaboratively towards a healthier society. As an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, I am a practicing primary care pediatrician, teach medical students and residents, and work on a variety of academic initiatives within the Division of General Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

Since graduating in 2006 from the inaugural class of the Master of Public Health Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, I have collaborated with the Wisconsin Department of Public Health on pediatric health initiatives including promoting routine development and autism screening in the medical home and promoting care coordination for children and youth with special health care needs.

I am grateful to have served as president of the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (WIAAP) from 2017-2019. I currently serve as policy chair for the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Community Pediatrics where I help shape organizational policy to improve the care we provide nationally to children and adolescents.

I am passionate about using quality improvement methodology, innovative clinical practices and advocacy to better the lives of children, adolescents and young adults.

Jasmine Zapata, MD, MPH, Class of 2017

Jasmine Zapata I am an author, physician scientist and community leader known both locally and internationally. My focus is on ways to get outside the clinic walls to impact health outcomes for children and families on a community-based level. My research and community work focuses on racial disparities in infant mortality, upstream determinants of health, youth resilience, public health approaches to violence prevention, diversity in medicine, and innovative methods of community engagement and health promotion.

At the School of Medicine and Public Health, I serve as co-director of the Ladder Program, which is a mentorship program for youth from diverse backgrounds interested in a career in medicine. I am also the founder of the Beyond Beautiful International Girl’s Empowerment Movement, as well as co-founder of the Madison Inspirational Youth Choir, among other roles. I am a four-time author and my advocacy and community work have been featured on live national television outlets, such as the Today Show. My ultimate mission is to use my infectious energy, gifts, and passions to “heal, uplift and inspire”. I truly enjoy combining my love for pediatrics with the field of preventive medicine and public health!

I am an alumnus of the UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health’s Preventive Medicine Residency Program and am on the board of directors for the Madison Boy’s and Girl’s Club.

MPA-MPH Dual Degree Alumni

Naiya Patel, MPA, MPH, Class of 2019

Naiya Patel I graduated UW–Madison in 2015 with an undergraduate degree in Nutritional Sciences and certificates in Global Health and Leadership. After graduation, I decided to serve in AmeriCorps to understand the needs of the community I lived in. I developed a passion for policy development and improving programs to better fit the community it was serving, so I returned to campus to pursue a Master of Public Affairs degree at the La Follette School of Public Affairs in 2016. My focus was health policy, but I realized many of the competencies I wanted to focus on fell under the Master of Public Health program, so I decided to enroll in the dual degree program.

I enrolled in the MPH program because of its interdisciplinary nature and the one-on-one support provided by faculty and staff. My field of interest was very unique, and I was able to find courses and projects that aligned with the skills I wanted to develop. Faculty members worked closely with students to create client-based projects that were specific to our specialties. This helped me gain important and applicable experience in my field, as well as learn about different fields my colleagues were focusing on. The MPH program also offered many opportunities to network with other diverse individuals in the public health and policy fields.

After graduation, I joined the Wisconsin Department of Health Services as a program and policy analyst on their FoodShare team for a year and a half. Since then, I have joined the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps team as an evidence analyst on the Evidence and Policy Analysis team. I use the skills from graduate school every day and have the opportunity to collaborate with many individuals I connected with through my MPH work.

Lily Schultze, MPA, MPH, Class of 2019

Lily Schultze After graduating from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2012, I worked at the Minnesota State Legislature for several years as well as at a Bay Area-based nonprofit. I returned to Wisconsin to pursue a Master of Public Affairs degree at the La Follette School of Public Affairs in 2012. After beginning the program, I decided to apply for the MPA-MPH dual degree program, as I was interested in gaining increased competencies and knowledge in the field of public health.

Through the MPH program, I was exposed to public health frameworks, systems thinking for public health and an increased understanding of ways in which health can be quantified and measured. These competencies have helped me become a stronger health policy professional. For my capstone project, I developed a narrative timeline of reproductive health policies between 2010 and the present in Wisconsin, incorporating key informant interviews. This project served as an opportunity to synthesize skills and knowledge gained from both degree programs.

I am currently a senior analyst on the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s Health Care Team. I have been with the agency since graduating with my MPA-MPH degree in 2019. Since then, I have worked on reports encompassing a variety of topics, including Medicaid long-term services and supports, COVID-19 diagnostic testing and consumer access to Medicare ownership information.


PharmD-MPH Dual Degree Alumni

Tristan O’Driscoll, PharmD, MPH, BCIDP, Class of 2013

Tristan O'Driscoll Growing up in an under-served area of inner-city Milwaukee, my goal has been to improve the health of my community and give back. After I obtained my B.S. in Pharmacology and Toxicology at the UW, I knew I wanted to take my training further and reach my goal. I found the best way to do this was participating in the PharmD-MPH dual degree program. This program offered solid, multilayered education that spanned across healthcare disciplines. I was fortunate to be involved in a field experience with the World Health Organization in Australia that led to a publication and counted for credit within both the PharmD and MPH programs. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity where I was also able to dive the Great Barrier Reef in my free time. After I graduated, I was able to take my knowledge and skills to Chicago, where I participated in two years of residency programs, a general residency and a specialty residency in infectious diseases. I then worked for a year at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte as a stewardship pharmacist before coming back to Wisconsin to build and lead a stewardship program.

Currently I am the leader of the system antimicrobial stewardship program at Aspirus Health, where we have 17 hospitals in northern Wisconsin and Michigan, 75 clinics. Quality improvement is a major focus of my position, and the dual degree program set me up for success. Evidence-based medicine is a key principle, and we have to take a public health approach to global antibiotic resistance in order to drive major improvements. Collaboration across many disciplines is key to getting work done and driving change. We have so many areas we need to focus on to continue to spur change, and I want to see more practitioners from all disciplines that are hungry for this new approach.

The PharmD-MPH dual degree program enhances pharmacist’s care for patients both at a one-to-on level and for the community from a population perspective. With this training, you are uniquely positioned to influence both policy and practice within your community and beyond. Teamwork and gaining diverse perspectives was a major focus of the program and now reaps dividends in the multidisciplinary groups I work with to drive improvements in healthcare in Wisconsin and beyond. I credit the PharmD-MPH dual degree program with allowing me to reach my goal of improving health in my community.

Jing Wu, PharmD, MPH, Class of 2017

Jing Wu I am the Director of Pharmacy Data Strategy and Innovation at the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP). My responsibilities include providing data and analytics expertise that inform decision-making, communication, research, grants, and collaboration efforts both internally and externally to the society. With my background as a Wisconsin-licensed pharmacist, well-versed in public health, patient advocacy, association management, and geographic information systems (GIS), I consult and teach in my various areas of expertise, including with the World Health Organization, Pfizer Inc., and a number of universities across the U.S.

I also serve as an advisory board member for the University of Louisville-Pharmacy Accessibility Index Project and as an external partner for The Center for Data-Driven Drugs Research and Policy (C3DRP) based out of the University of California, Irvine.

When not working, I enjoy activities that cross-train mind and body so that I can live my healthiest and fullest life.

Amanda Yang, PharmD, MPH, Class of 2021

Amanada Yang When I was applying to pharmacy schools, I was looking at programs that had dual PharmD-MPH degree options. As a future healthcare provider, I wanted to have a better understanding of public health to build a foundation on addressing health disparities and inequities. UW–Madison’s PharmD-MPH program gave me the opportunity to learn from an interdisciplinary team of faculty, staff, and students.

I was part of the first cohort going through the new MPH curriculum and felt the courses and Applied Practice Experience (APEX) have prepared me to achieve competency in the MPH program competencies. The people I’ve met along the way have been inspiring. Working with an interdisciplinary group of students offered different perspectives on improving our communities. I enjoyed my time in the program and feel that it will be an asset to my pharmacy career. I hope to apply the skills I learned in improving pharmacy policy, contributing to preventive health, and advocating for the people.

Following graduation, I will be working as a pharmacist at a community pharmacy in the Madison area.

MPAS-MPH Dual Degree Alumni

Allison Giebel, MPAS, MPH, Class of 2020

Allison Giebel My first experience with the world of public health came from an AHEC summer internship that I heard about through one of my undergrad professors at UW–Madison. During that summer, I truly learned about the critical role public health plays in our communities and in our everyday lives. In order to holistically care for my future patients, I knew that I needed to understand the external factors that influence the health and wellness of societies. When I saw that UW–Madison has a dual degree MPAS-MPH program, I couldn’t have imagined a better fit.

The program introduced me to incredible mentors, faculty, and friends that have changed how I see healthcare and medicine. Now as a new grad, I have the tools to make a positive, structural impact when caring for my patients. I look forward to launching into the workforce as a PA in orthopedic care in Denver, CO this fall, and can’t wait to continue integrating public health into clinical medicine.

Mikaela (Pierson) Daniels, MPAS, MPH, Class of 2019

Mikaela Pierson I entered the MPH program on a path to graduate as a practicing physician assistant with a strong public health background. The MPAS-MPH Program set me up well for a career working in family medicine in medically underserved areas.

Prior to entering the program, I had been living and working in St. Paul, MN. Since graduation, I have returned to the Minneapolis area, and have worked in family medicine at both a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and a community-based clinic. I completed a service term with the National Health Service Corps while working at the FQHC. My MPH education has helped me to better collaborate with my patients, work more effectively within my community as a family medicine provider and navigate the healthcare system with more understanding. The MPAS-MPH dual degree program at UW-Madison gave me the opportunity to pursue my own goals and interests while providing an educational framework with the skills I needed to be most beneficial to my community. Go Badgers!

DVM-MPH Dual Degree Alumni

Nailah Smith, DVM, MPH, Class of 2016

Nailah Smith Adding a Master of Public Health to my veterinary degree has allowed me to achieve my goal of working at the animal-human interface. During the MPH program, I was able to gain a much better understanding of the social determinants of health, community health and health policy which all contribute to human population health. This understanding, along with infectious disease epi electives and a capstone focused on advanced epidemiologic analysis, gave me a great footing to start my career.

After completing the program in 2016, I worked as an epidemiologist at the TN Department of Health’s Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance Program. There, I was responsible for data management and containment response activities for the Southeast region of the Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network (ARLN) created by CDC.

In 2018, I was accepted into CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) and worked for two years as an epidemiologist in the Center for Global Health’s Division of Global Health Protection. I was able to work on applied epidemiology projects that took me to Kenya, Liberia, Guatemala and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Now, I’m working as a COVID-19 epidemiologist in the CDC Emergency Operations Center assigned to LA County Department of Public Health where I sit on the Education Sector Team.

Nursing-MPH Dual Degree Alumni

Faleasha Gallagher, RN, MPH, Class of 2021

Faleasha Gallagher I’m a 2021 graduate of the MPH program. In my second year of the program, I had the honor to serve as the social chair and mentor coordinator for the MPH student organization (MPHSO). Additionally, I completed my APEX at Rock County Public Health Department doing an evaluation for their Community Health Improvement Plan. It was such a memorable experience and I got to meet so many rockstar public health professionals.

During the MPH program, I worked (and still work) part-time at Saint Mary’s Hospital as a registered nurse in critical care. Since graduating with my MPH, I have taken on the role of grant coordinator for the Wisconsin Nurse’s Association. Fortunately for me, the grant is focusing on Rock County, where I did my field work, making it easy to transition into this position.

Olivia Gonzalez, BSN, MPH, Class of 2022

Olivia Gonzalez I graduated from the University of Wisconsin School of Nursing in 2020 and continued my studies through the dual degree Masters of Public Health program. As a new grad trauma nurse, I cared for a disproportionate number of gun violence victims in Milwaukee, prompting me to support community action.

For my APEX, I sought out 414 Life, a community based organization that takes a public health approach to preventing gun violence. Throughout my experience, I worked with a professionally diverse team to promote violence prevention and advocacy efforts in the City of Milwaukee. After graduating with my master’s degree, I returned to one of my passions, sexual and reproductive health, and began supporting HIV & STD prevention and treatment in Charlotte, North Carolina. I soon found myself interning with the USAID Office of HIV/AIDS, where I currently support HIV prevention, care, and treatment programming and policy for children and adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa.

After my internship concludes, I hope to continue supporting international sexual and reproductive healthcare.

James Kollross, RN, MPH, Class of 2020

James Kollross As a student in the UW School of Nursing, I realized how uniquely positioned nurses are to improve the health of not only individuals, but populations as a whole. This understanding helped me to decide to pursue the BSN to MPH Advanced Degree Option that is available to UW nursing students. This valuable opportunity allowed me to compliment my nursing training with further public health training. The education I received at the UW School of Nursing and the UW School of Medicine and Public Health in the MPH program were high quality, transformative, and valuable to me as a nurse.

In the MPH program I especially enjoyed learning so much from peers who had various work or volunteer experiences prior to beginning the program, or who came from other programs across campus. The connections and friends made in the program are fantastic! I feel prepared to be entering the public health workforce (even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic) because of the great public health foundation I have received through the BSN and MPH programs. I am excited to be starting as a public health nurse with the Bayfield County Health Department, and I look forward to working to improve the health of populations in this role. I am especially excited to work to reduce rural health disparities, reduce stigma surrounding mental health concerns, promote mental health in populations, and improve environmental health throughout my career in public health.