I AM FPHLP 2015: Brandon Smith

Brandon SmithBrandon Smith was part of the 2015 FPHLP cohort. He recently graduated in December from The University of New Mexico where he majored in Community Health Education. During his time in FPHLP, Brandon worked with Henry Ford Health Systems – Generation With Promise in Detroit, MI. In his role as a Community Health Educator and Mentor, Brandon was able to assist Youth Wellness Ambassadors, educating students on the social determinants of health impacting the food system. He also had the opportunity to address unhealthy eating habits, risky health behaviors and physical inactivity by creating action plans for the community of Metro Detroit and its schools.

The biggest challenge Brandon faced while participating in the program was having to adapt to different environments, personally and professionally. He says, however, “Being pushed out of my comfort zone allowed me to express my talents and capabilities to build a network of trust and support.” It was through the formation of this network that Brandon was able to learn and enhance his knowledge of current and emerging public health issues, mentioning the orientation at the CDC as one of the highlights of his FPHLP experience.

Prior to the program, Brandon was certain he wanted to become a nurse, but his plans changed after meeting with his preceptor, mentors and the FPHLP staff. This fall, he will attend George Warren Brown School for Social Work and Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis, pursuing a dual degree Master of Public Health and Master of Social Work. He explains, “I aspire to work within the Native American community on intervention health programs for individuals experiencing interpersonal violence and sexual assault and to develop, implement and evaluate intervention programs for substance abuse.” Ultimately, Brandon hopes to obtain his Doctor of Public Health degree to improve population health.

Thinking back to his own FPHLP experience, Brandon advises the 2016 cohort, “Explore the numerous opportunities that the program offers, and don’t be afraid to ask questions! Be comfortable with the uncomfortable; it will help you grow and develop as a professional. Ultimately, HAVE FUN, experiment and explore yourself as an individual!”

Brandon Smith