Angela N. Frazier, MPH is the founder and president of Sisters in Public Health and author of A Kids Book About™ Suicide. Angela received her Master of Public Health in 2018 in Community Health Practice.
In 2017, Angela founded her nonprofit, Sisters in Public Health (SIPH), to connect all women in public health. As a founder of a nonprofit, she oversees a board and team of women who are dedicated to evolving the next generation of women in public health. SIPH are in six cities across the nation, which include Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. Her organization, SIPH, offers an annual $1,000 scholarship for women in a public health masters or doctoral program.
We asked Angela, what is the most rewarding aspect of working in your field?
A: “The most rewarding aspect of being in the public health field is being able to create a path for yourself. I was never set on exactly what I wanted to do when I graduated but I knew I wanted to make a difference and be of service. I know I am not alone; many people who seek higher education and obtain their master’s or doctorate degree haven’t yet decided what they want to do with it. The field of public health really allows you to branch out, learn along the way, and set a path that works for you. As the Founder of Sisters in Public Health, I was able to establish an organization that assists students who are in this space. We offer a yearly scholarship for students who are furthering their education in the public health field. It is so rewarding to be able to give back in this capacity. As an author of A Kids Book About™ Suicide, public health allowed me to apply my prevention mindset in the mental health field. Focusing on suicide prevention allowed me to branch into the education space. The field of public health is truly what you make it.”
We asked Angela, what is the most challenging aspect of working in your field?
The most challenging aspect is continuous education and networking. There is always a need to learn more but knowing where to start or what certificate to add can be challenging. I have connected with a lot of public health professionals who still have that desire to learn. We often discuss the desire to improve our skills and stay up to speed on what is currently happening in the public health field. The advice I’d have for someone reading this is to research your continuing education needs based on where you are and where you want to be. It’s what I’ve been able to do to maintain my competence in my area. In regard to networking, you will find networking to be easier at conferences such as the Annual American Public Health Association (APHA) Conference. Attending conferences in your field benefits you two ways, it offers education and the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals.
What advice do you have for early career/new professionals in your field?
Network as much as possible. Relationships are key to success. Connect with those in your field through LinkedIn, conferences, networking events, informational meetings, and more. It is important to not be afraid to hear the answer “no”. I remind myself of that often when I connect with people on LinkedIn and ask for an informational meeting. I learned early to not take anything personal as many people want to help but often don’t have the time, capacity, or are in the proper headspace. Nonetheless, don’t let that stop you from reaching out and saying hello. I also want to encourage students to get active on social media. Our generation has the luxury of creating our own paths. You can share articles or create content of your own. Showcasing your skills in this way may catch the eyes of leadership, recruiters, your next supervisor, etc. There are so many ways in which you can network and build your relationships. Lastly, I’d say to remember to stay connected with those people who you meet with. That can be as simple as a quarterly check-in text, email, or even phone call. I once secured a role because of a connection I met at a conference. I asked her to lunch a few times and expressed my interest in her organization. It was an entire year later when I wasn’t looking for a new job, but she saw something that she believed I was a good fit for and requested my resume. My resume was sent to the hiring manager and the following week I was called in for an interview and the next week I was offered a position. Networking and staying connected is essential.
What are you most proud of in your public health career?
Establishing an organization that women feel drawn to, Sisters in Public Health and writing A Kids Book About™ Suicide. Knowing that this book will always be a resource for kids and families who have lost someone to suicide or struggle with suicidal ideation will forever be a huge accomplishment of mine. I have received emails and many reviews from counselors, teachers, psychologists, and grief support centers on how this book has impacted the kids in their life. I truly feel like this alone has made a difference and I am living in my true purpose.
Why did you choose UTHealth School of Public Health?
UTHealth is a top public health program, it is in the nation's biggest medical center, and it is located in one of the most diverse cities. I remember attending UTHealth SPH for admitted students’ day and instantly I felt at home. I was so excited to be joining a community that felt like family as I was moving all the way from Portland, Oregon. I met my advisor, Dr. Vanessa Schick in person and was so excited to be advised by her. It really felt like a perfect match from expertise to personality. Joining the Management, Policy, and Community Health (MPACH) program was great for me. After reading about community health, I knew that was the area that was the best fit for myself. My background was focused on community health and that is where I wanted to expand my knowledge. After moving to Houston, it took minimal time to get adjusted, it was the perfect fit.
What do you think influenced your career most?
It was a mixture of my practicum experience and mentorship. I was fortunate to connect with a UTHealth Alumni, Dr. Tamara Bourda, who was employed with Catholic Health Initiative at the time. She was the National Director of Healthy Communities and oversaw the relationships between the hospital and the community. She took me under her wing with a great practicum experience and exceptional mentorship. I was able to go to the headquarters of Catholic Health Initiative in Denver, Colorado and have a one-on-one experience learning with her. Since my practicum experience, I stay connected in a mentorship capacity. When I need to make a career decision, she is the person I call for advice.