Ostermaier’s Dedication to Public Health is Leading Her to Medical School

Photo of Emily Ostermaier

A native of Houston, Emily Ostermaier, a second-year MPH student in epidemiology at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health in Dallas, credits the city’s diversity with igniting her interest in pursuing research related to chronic conditions in immigrant and refugee communities.

While an undergraduate student at Texas Tech University, Ostermaier volunteered with the Raider Medical Screening Society (RMSS.) This organization provided free medical screenings to underserved people in the Lubbock community allowing Ostermaier help at an individual level. The connection between the classroom and the fieldwork prompted Ostermaier’s pursuit of an MPH program that would lead her path to medical school.

“After graduating from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science in microbiology, I was interested in pursuing an MPH,” said Ostermaier. “After exploring various public health programs throughout the state of Texas, I was drawn to the School of Public Health because I learned of its wide variety of concentrations in various areas of public health.”

Ostermaier’s research spans across institutions in Texas, including The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and Parkland Health and Hospital Systems in Dallas.

Ostermaier says, “The faculty members at the school are constantly giving constructive feedback for projects and assignments, making it possible to continue to grow and learn as a student before entering the workforce.”

Serena Rodriguez, PhD, MA, MPH, assistant professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, reflected on Ostermaier’s “natural curiosity and dedication to learning that is exciting to see. She is thoughtful and adaptable. When project timelines shifted and data was unavailable for a particular project, she thought on her feet. She conducted a rapid literature review to ensure we were up to date on the latest research and to help guide the next steps.”

“I look forward to watching her career grow as both a public health scientist and physician as she transitions to medical school.”

She plans to attend medical school in the fall with an interest in general pediatrics. Her advice to incoming students is always to keep an open mind when choosing career interests.

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