“Anne is a committed public health worker: She spent her summer doing her MPH practicum at Cape Cod National Seashore, working on bicycle safety program, and continues to work remotely on Google maps of trails and on additional safety programs for the Seashore outside of her required studies and without being paid.”
-Dr. Pete Walton, School of Public Health and Information Sciences
Anne Harrell graduated with honors from the University of Louisville in 2011 with a BS in Biology, concentration in subcellular and molecular biology. She is currently a second year Masters in Public Health student studying health behavior and health promotion. Anne will graduate in May 2013 with her MPH.
Specific areas of research (how you chose this research, why it interested you):
I am interested in studying how people make health decisions and how to help them make better health decisions. Specifically, I am interested in applying this knowledge to prevent unintentional injuries.
Awards, honors, publications:
I am a Hallmark Scholar, receiving the Hallmark Award from the University of Louisville for my undergraduate studies. I have presented posters at the International Neuroscience Society Conference (February 2011, Boston, MA) and the Health Equity Summit (April 2012, Louisville, KY); titled Impact of minor sleep loss on speech perception in 6-yr old children: electrophysiological effects and Refugee health screening program: monitoring and improving refugee health outcomes through a data coordination process, respectively. The presentation at the Health Equity Summit was awarded the top honor for all graduate research projects.
How would you describe your area of study/ specific research to your grandmother:
Outside of health related fields, the term “public health” usually conjures images of restaurant and public facility health inspectors. While these are two positions within the field, public health encompasses a wide range of occupations. In general, it is concerned with maintaining the health of a population. I often use this comparison: doctors provide health care for sick individuals; public health professionals provide health services for sick populations. We focus on the prevention of illness, disease, and injury before they occur. Unintentional injuries occur as the result of accidents, but this does not mean that they can’t be prevented. Most accidents are not random and occur in patterns and therefore can be studied and prevented. This is my area of interest; preventing preventable injuries.
How do you think this advanced degree will change your role in society?
Due to the relative recent birth of the public health field of study, most professionals in the field are not formally trained in public health. I hope that my degree will enable me to apply public health theory to public health practice. I also hope that the work that I do will increase awareness of the importance of preventative health care and bring credit to the profession of public health.
What accomplishment, academic or otherwise, are you most proud of?
Running in the Louisville Derby Mini-marathon in 2011. I have never been much of a long distance runner, so the thought of running 13.2 miles was (and still is) very daunting. In January 2011, I began training for the race and was able to run the entire distance, finishing in just under 120 minutes. This is an accomplishment that I am extremely proud of. Training required running on a daily basis, through snow, ice and rain. My only goal was to run the whole race and I accomplished just that.
What made you go into this field of study?
After my first year in my graduate program, I was awarded a 3-month internship with the National Park Service through the Risk Management and Injury Prevention Program. During this internship, I worked at Cape Cod National Seashore to develop educational and outreach programs to reduce biking accidents at the park. This was my first introduction to injury prevention and since that internship I have guided my specific course of study to focus on injury prevention. When an “accident” leads to a fatal injury and retrospective study shows it to be 100% preventable, it exposes an area for improvement. Preventing these types of injuries and deaths is what motivates me to continue in this field of study.
What was your favorite part of the graduate school experience?
Graduate school, in my experience, is very different from undergraduate school. I have very much enjoyed both of my experiences at the University of Louisville. Most of all in graduate school, I enjoy the opportunity to develop personal relationships with my fellow MPH candidates through team projects and to work on projects with the public health professionals in the community. These real world experiences help immensely with networking and professional development.
A talent you have always wanted: To be able to sing and dance without looking like a fool.
Favorite book: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Favorite quote: There are too many to pick just one. This one reflects an overall attitude toward life, never give up.
"If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down." – Mary Pickford
Pet Peeve: When people cannot entertain an idea with which they do not agree.