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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

School of Public Health

Alumni Spotlight

Michael MegafuMichael Megafu

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York (Grew up in Jamaica, Queens, NY)

Degree(s), Concentration, and Class Year at SUNY Downstate: MPH, Epidemiology, Class of 2019

Undergraduate Major: Biology with a minor in Chemistry

Current Profession: Medical Student at the A.T. Still University Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community involvement: Currently serve as a musician for one of the local churches

Award Received: Dean's Award for Academic Excellence ● Delta Omega Honor Society ● Samuel K. Award, MD and Florence Kalaver, MD Award for General Excellence. 


1. Why did you choose to study at SUNY Downstate School of Public Health (SPH)? Did SPH meet your expectations?

I chose to study at SUNY Downstate SPH because I grew up in the Brooklyn area and wanted to learn about health disparities and public health. Although I always knew I wanted to be a physician, I believed a public health degree would offer another perspective to medicine where we think about populations, survival trends and risk factors, and create preventative measures to diminish risks and ultimately eliminate them. Through the Health Science Academy in my high school years, I was exposed to the influence of disparities and inequities on health outcomes in underserved populations and that aided in the desire to learn more through an MPH degree here at Downstate. The SPH met all of my expectations and I am positive they will continue to be innovative and do more for the community and future public health students.


2. What was the most memorable experience or advice you received during your time at SPH that struck you as particularly meaningful?

Most memorable advice I received during my time at SPH was from Dr. Michael Joseph. He counseled me and challenged me to be the best and work extremely hard. He made me aware of the scarcity of black men in medicine as well as in the field of epidemiology, and motivated me to study hard, be the best, and expect nothing but success in everything I do. 


3. Which SPH community member (e.g. faculty, staff, mentor, fellow classmates) influenced you the most and why?

Dr. Michael Joseph was definitely the most influential person due to the fact that he was another black male who not only successfully endured challenges and hardships but also became a significant person in epidemiology and the Downstate community. However, I will be wrong to not acknowledge my Epidemiology and Biostatistics professors as well as the Community Health Science professors who motivated me. I am specifically grateful for Dr. Elizabeth Helzner, Dr. Janet Rosenbaum, Dr. Carl Rosenberg, Dr. Sergios Kolokotronis, Dr. Simone Reynolds, Dr. Aimee Afable, Dr. Azure Thompson, and Dr. Tracey Wilson. 


4. Where has life taken you since you graduated from SPH? How has your experience at Downstate SPH prepared you for your career?

I am currently in medical school, and SPH has prepared me well as most of my biostatistics, epidemiology, ethics and jurisprudence courses are a review of what I learned at SPH. 


5. What advice do you have for prospective students?

Medicine and public health are definitely challenging fields and there are so many times that you might feel like you do not belong and had imposter syndrome. The biggest advice I have is to always look at the future and remember your why. The professionals that are in your field already went through the stages and if they were successful in doing it, you can do it too. 


6. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I believe that I would be serving as a resident physician in sports medicine and pediatrics, so hopefully an orthopedic surgeon with a fellowship in pediatrics and sports medicine.



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