From Grenada to Graduation: My Public Health Pursuits


Jamie Fry

2nd Year, MPH, Epidemiology Candidate

As graduation nears, all I can think about is what comes next. Where will I be living? What work will I be doing? What kind of work do I want to be doing? I’ve always been a planner. I anticipate and envision the future, develop a plan to achieve it, and then I do. Of course, it’s not quite that simple. I experience obstacles. I make mistakes. But I’ve been told that when I set my mind to something, there’s no stopping me. 

While preparing for life after graduation, I am reflecting on my time as a student at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. My most impactful experience thus far has been my trip with PHAST to San Antonio, Texas. We collected and assessed data regarding the community’s attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions of long COVID. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity. It wasn’t until more recently, as I sifted through pages upon pages of job postings, that I realized I wasn’t just feeling grateful for the trip. I felt fulfilled. Engaging with the community and collaborating with key stakeholders made me feel like my work mattered. That is the kind of work I want to be doing. 

I am eager to continue doing meaningful work with the Ministry of Social & Community Development, Housing, and Gender Affairs in Grenada. Based on last year’s PHAST findings, dementia and Alzheimer’s are becoming more prevalent among the population. We aim to build upon their initial findings and produce a curriculum plan for dementia and Alzheimer’s care. Most of my public health experience has been in infectious diseases, so I look forward to working on a project outside my background. 

My post-graduation plans remain uncertain. However, I am trying to focus on what I do know. I know that I am committed to eliminating health disparities and promoting health equity. I know that I enjoy collaborating with communities, key stakeholders, and fellow public health professionals to address public health concerns. I know that I yearn to learn–I will always be a student, regardless of school enrollment. I am enthusiastic about our upcoming trip to Grenada, as I know that my knowledge and skills as a public health professional will grow in ways that can’t be taught in a classroom.