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SUNY Downstate Medical Center


Public Health for a Global Community

Meet Our Students

SUNY Downstate SPH Student Spotlight

MD / MPH Program

Robin Brehm

Epidemiology Concentration

What brought you to the field of public health?

photo of Robin Brehm

I got bitten by the science bug early. (Ask my mother about how I insisted I couldn't get out of the bathtub as a little kid because "I'm not done evolving.") I did research in high school and as an undergraduate at Bard College – mostly on the NMDA receptor in zebrafish. I took two years off after graduating and worked at the Brooklyn VA, doing clinical and epidemiological research on lung disease.

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Doctor of Public Health candidate

JoAnn DiLernia

Community Health Science Concentration

What brought you to the field of Public Health and prompted you to pursue a Doctor of Public Health degree?

I became passionate about improving the health of women, which lead me to a BS in Health Sciences with a concentration in Public Health/Community Health Education and a second major in Women’s Studies with a focus on Gender, Sexuality, and Public Health. That’s when I fell in love with Public Health.

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Donell Harvin

Environmental and Occupational Health Science Concentration

What brought you to the field of Public Health and prompted you to pursue a Doctor of Public Health degree?

photo of Donell Harvin

I have worked in the health field for 20 years, starting out as a paramedic working in underserved communities, specifically Brooklyn and the immediate area around SUNY Downstate. I saw public health as a higher calling and a way to affect more lives and serve a greater population than just one patient at a time.

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Master of Public Health Program

George Koutsouras

Epidemiology Concentration

What was your educational and work experience prior to enrolling in the MPH program at SUNY Downstate?

photo of George Koutsouras

After high school in Queens, NY, I attended the New York Institute of Technology where I studied Biology. Following that, I received a Certificate in Global Health from NYIT's Center for Global Health. As part of the certificate program, I traveled to the country of Ghana, where I participated in qualitative research and received basic clinical training in a rural medical clinic.

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Here is what our students say
about the MD / MPH Program

Francesca Decker: "I'm doing the 4 year concurrent degree which is very challenging, but I'm also very excited about having it all done in four years. I think it's going to be a real benefit for residency."

Simon Fitzgerald: "I think that the MPH gives me the tools in which to be able to understand how to organize medical resources on a community level, especially for underserved communities."

Elisabeth Lessenich: "It's truly very easy to combine these two degrees at Downstate. The MPH advisors help you tailor the program and help you so you can combine classes and field work to get exactly what you want out of this."

Malini Persad: "I considered the combined MD/MPH Program as one of the most positive academic experiences I have had."

For more about the MD / MPH Program,
watch these video testimonials: