Erica Pratt, M.P.H. Class of 2022, Envisions Herself as a Public Health Leader
Ms. Pratt hopes to expand her career options by earning her M.P.H. in Health Behavior and Community Health.
Born in Winston Salem, North Carolina, Erica Pratt, Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) Class of 2022, gained work experience in the public health field as a patient health educator and then a clinical specialist after her undergraduate studies. She has long had an interest in the multi-faceted nature of public health and is in the last semester of her M.P.H. track with a concentration in Health Behavior and Community Health. She is currently a retention adherence specialist at Mount Sinai Health System which supports goals regarding early intervention of HIV and hopes to use her M.P.H. to become a community health leader.
What about the field of public health intrigues you?
There are truly many things that intrigue me in the field of public health, so it is hard to choose just one aspect. Crucial components of community outreach and engagement, diseases and their etiologies, preventative health measures and many more important components of the field are what initially got me interested. What intrigues me is how the field of public health is so essential to health promotion, disease prevention, and community empowerment. In this field, we have the power to change people’s lives. What could be better than that?
Who has influenced you to pursue a public health degree?
I have lost a few family members due to adverse health outcomes, specifically an uncle I was very close to who died in 2019. He had end-stage renal disease, diabetes and heart complications. With the proper health education, more adequate health care and proper preventative measures, tragic events such as this can be avoided or at least better managed to increase an individual’s life expectancy. I want to help not only my family, but other individuals take better care of themselves and prioritize their health.
When did you realize you wanted an M.P.H. and what have you found most rewarding about the program?
I always thought of getting my M.P.H. even while in undergraduate school. I knew that I did not want to limit myself so I felt that obtaining an M.P.H. could help me be an even more qualified public health professional. What has been most rewarding has been applying the skills I have learned at NYMC—such as conducting community needs assessments and developing intervention programs—in my current occupation, where I support goals regarding early intervention of HIV, and early access to and engagement in HIV care and retention. The M.P.H. program has prepared me in a way that I can approach situations with my patients with confidence and assurance that I can provide the care they need.
Where do you see yourself in the near future?
My goal has always been to achieve a supervisory position in my field of community health, such as a public health director so I could organize and manage programs that benefit the health of those in the community whether that be for an organization or a municipal role. As far as the near future, I see myself excelling in my new and current role by continuing to improve health outcomes for patients in support of the HIV continuum with the skills I have learned from NYMC’s M.P.H. program.