Sharon Abada - MPH

Headshot_Sharon Abada2

Name: Sharon Abada
Graduation year:
Program: Master of Public Health, Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences 
Stroke prevention, older adult health, injury prevention
Current Position: 
Accepted into Medical School

How did you decide to enter into the field of public health?
I decided to attend graduate school to study public health after gaining an interest in working to eliminate health disparities during my undergraduate years at UCLA. While I was a junior and senior studying physiology, I took on a science education minor and worked as a tutor for UCLA students from underserved backgrounds. I also volunteered for Israeli emergency medical services during the summer between those two years. In combination, these experiences allowed me to interact with people who, through policy and social circumstance, have to deal with substantial barriers to wellness. I felt inspired to learn more about population-level health, particularly related to those who are underprivileged, and studying public health allowed me to do that.

What position do you currently hold?
I am currently in the process of applying to medical school – I have been admitted to a few schools (I haven’t selected one to attend yet), so I will definitely be on my way to becoming a doctor starting in the fall of 2017!

How has your MPH degree helped you?
My MPH degree gave me a population-level perspective on health and healthcare that helped me solidify my intention to become a physician who integrates behavioral health, social justice, and preventive care into my daily activities. While working on my MPH, I did several research projects (including my MPH thesis) that helped me understand how important research is in shaping practices and policies. I now feel confident in my ability to continue moving forward with my own independent research studies – something that will come in handy both in medical school and afterward. The MPH also helped with medical school admissions, since it added a certain level of maturity and understanding of the healthcare field to my application.

What particular classes helped you in obtaining your current position / in working in your current position?
One class in particular, “Issues in Aging,” opened my mind to the study of older adult health – something I hadn’t previously known much about that has now become one of my primary areas of interest. The professor who taught the course, Dr. Burnett, inspired me to complete several research projects (including my thesis) as well as my practicum on the topic of older adults. I was also able to get in touch with a guest lecturer for the course (a geriatrician) and shadow her in the geriatric care unit of the hospital. I enjoyed that the class was small and involved a lot of interactive discussions among the students and between the students and lecturers. Like many of the other courses I took at UTHealth, the work was very collaborative, thereby allowing me to learn about my classmates’ interests and goals in a fun, productive environment.

Where are you heading with your new position?
I’m not certain where my medical career will take me just yet, but I hope to make public health a big part of what I do at every stage of my training and professional life. Ask me in about 10 years, and I’ll let you know how it worked out!