A Champion for Childhood Cancer Survivors
Executive MPH Program, Applied Epidemiology Track, MPH ‘19
“The aspect that stood out when I was selecting the program, and continued to be important to me as a student, was the fact that there was an Applied Epidemiology Track with a strong focus on epidemiology and biostatistics.”
Stephanie Dixon was beginning her medical fellowship in pediatric hematology and oncology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital when she applied to Rollins’ Executive MPH program. Since Stephanie is pursuing a career surrounding childhood cancer survivors, she knew that building her knowledge base in public health with a master’s degree could help her achieve her goals.
Stephanie’s interest in the field was sparked after volunteering as a counselor at a camp for children with cancer and their siblings.
"I felt that it would be very beneficial for my fellowship time, but also for my future career, to have further training that could help me develop a foundation in epidemiology and biostatistics," she says.
When researching the executive programs available, Rollins’ Applied Epidemiology Track was what ultimately sold Stephanie on her decision to apply and enroll.
"That’s where Rollins’ program stood out and really fit well with my goals,” she says as she reflects on her time as an EMPH student. "I really appreciate the biostatistics background and epidemiology background. You get the public health training, but also have a large focus on more of the biostatistics and computing that is involved in research using large population datasets."
For Stephanie, the hybrid format of the program has helped her successfully balance the demands of her fellowship with her academics. "I think having some on-campus time has been very helpful, but I appreciate that it’s short, over a long weekend. Because of that, I haven’t had to take off that much time from work, and it occurs only six times a year." She adds, "I really appreciated that the program makes an effort to make anything that doesn’t need to be synchronized, asynchronous."
When it comes to offering advice to other students considering EMPH programs, Stephanie recommends reading up on the thesis and practicum requirements of each, understanding what they mean, and assessing how they align with your personal goals. "I am doing both a practicum and a thesis. They are both going to be very useful for my career path. I was able to integrate them into projects within my research area of interest, which was very helpful."