Starting a New Chapter in Texas


Kaitlyn Bowie

1st Year MPH Health Behavior Health Education Candidate

The hard work and preparation for our trip to San Antonio culminated in a wonderful learning experience. Upon stepping into the grounds of San Antonio, I was amazed by how welcomed I felt by the community. The residents were warm and embraced us at every step of our field experience. From the focus group discussions to Loteria, I thoroughly enjoyed the stories and experiences the community shared with us.

This opportunity provided me with a new perspective on public health and how we can work towards engaging and strengthening our trust with communities, especially those of color. I deeply appreciate the shared experiences of the Eastside community members regarding their encounters with asthma and overall health inequities. The focus group was incredibly powerful; I recall getting chills at many statements the participants shared with us. Our key informant, a community health worker from the Eastside, provided impactful information on community engagement and health promotion. I plan to utilize many of their tips and strategies throughout my public health career when engaging with communities. This experience also underscored the importance of partnerships; we cannot complete this work alone—it takes a multitude.

I am extremely grateful for this experience, as it pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to enhance the many public health skills we learn about and put them into action. I appreciate the intentionality behind this course, which immersed us in the community we served to provide the best work possible. One of the highlights was the windshield tour, which allowed me to experience the Soul of San Antonio firsthand. It was a rich experience of the culture and strong sense of community that we gathered during our focus group and key informant interview.

Additionally, I fostered many new connections with my fellow classmates while strengthening existing ones. I had the privilege of celebrating my birthday during this trip and felt the love from my classmates, making it one of the most memorable birthdays ever.

Having this opportunity to put practice into action has allowed me to grow and deepen my knowledge, enjoyment, and love for public health. I look forward to what this next year will bring me both personally and professionally.