I AM FPHLP 2015: Elizabeth Serrano

Elizabeth SerranoElizabeth Serrano was part of the 2015 FPHLP cohort. She recently graduated from the University of California, Berkeley as a Public Health major. During her time in FPHLP, Elizabeth worked with the Department of Health and Wellness Promotion in Detroit, MI where she assisted with various tasks, including editing an emergency preparedness plan, volunteering at health fairs, and researching public health advisory committees. FPHLP also gave Elizabeth the opportunity to conduct informational interviews with various public health professionals to gain insight into their roles. The work of Health Emergency Lifeline Programs (HELP), in particular, inspired Elizabeth to want to create a similar non-profit organization that caters to the needs of underserved Latinos/as.

The biggest challenge Elizabeth faced while in the program was adapting to a work environment that required her to be both on- and off-site. She explains, “I had been used to working solely in an office setting prior to my field placement. At first it was tough, but by the end of the program I appreciated it…I feel there are more opportunities to learn and network when you are not just working in a cubicle.”

Elizabeth first became interested in FPHLP as a rising senior with a goal of attending graduate school for public health. She was unsure what concentration she wanted to pursue, so Elizabeth felt that FPHLP would be the perfect opportunity to gain mentorship, resources, and further her knowledge about the field. “The program made me realize that the possibilities are endless.” She says, “In the future I aspire to promote health equity and access in low-income communities of color in the Los Angeles area. I want to have an interdisciplinary approach to health by merging fields…”

Since the program ended, Elizabeth has completed her undergraduate coursework and interned for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in Washington, D.C. She was also accepted into graduate school and plans to attended the University of Michigan School of Public Health in the Health Behavior and Health Education program this fall.

When asked what advice she would give to someone considering FPHLP, Elizabeth recommends, “Even if you have a slight curiosity about public health, apply! FPHLP will give you the opportunity to explore this diverse field. And if you realize it’s not for you, there is so much to gain from this experience. You will have support in whatever you decide to pursue, meet life-long friends *shout out to the FAM*, expand your comfort zone, network, and gain invaluable skills at your field placement.”

Elizabeth SerranoElizabeth Serrano