Sisters aim to have ‘fulfilling careers helping people’
Allison Tuohy, BA ’19; Caroline Tuohy, BS ’21
Community and Global Public Health; Public Health Sciences
Allison and Caroline Tuohy took different routes as they studied towards earning their degrees from the University of Michigan School of Public Health but reached a similar destination. Allison focused on a degree in Community and Global Public Health, while her younger sister, Caroline, majored in Public Health Sciences.
Allison (on the right in the photo above) went on to earn her law degree at Wayne State University and joined a prominent Detroit legal firm. Caroline currently is working toward a master’s degree in Health Systems Administration at Georgetown University while working as a senior consultant for the Health Solutions Team at FTI Consulting in Washington, DC.
Although their paths might seem to be distinct and divergent, their unmistakable pedigree tells you that the pair most likely has arrived at the same destination: pursuing a shared commitment to help facilitate quality healthcare for all.
“With both of our parents being in the healthcare field, that played a role in my choice of a major and a career,” said Allison, who was a member of the first cohort of public health majors at Michigan Public Health.
“In one of the summers prior to going to Michigan, I had the opportunity to intern at Trinity Health and really see how hospital systems interface with public health,” she said. “I got to see how they solved complex healthcare challenges, and I was really attracted to that.”
Their mother is a retired pharmaceutical scientist who worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 30 years, while the Tuohys’ father has worked in healthcare administration and is currently the chief information officer for a large Michigan-based healthcare entity.
In one of the summers prior to going to Michigan, I had the opportunity to intern at Trinity Health and really see how hospital systems interface with public health. I got to see how they solved complex healthcare challenges, and I was really attracted to that.”
— Allison Tuohy
“When I started looking into what I might want to do, I didn't have anything specific in mind, but with Dad and Mom both in healthcare, I knew I would want to do something related to that,” said Caroline, who also minored in business at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. “I think we saw that both of our parents had very fulfilling careers helping people, and we could see how fulfilling that was for them. We want the same thing.”
Caroline initially considered studying to become a physician.
“When I went to college, I was thinking I might want to be some kind of provider, but after I took Public Health 200, I realized that even though I was passionate about healthcare, I didn't necessarily need to be a healthcare provider.”
She found that her undergraduate studies at Michigan presented a wide array of career avenues.
“My approach was, let's not narrow my options for the future,” Caroline said. “I saw that the School of Public Health kept a lot of doors open.”
Allison said the Public Health 200 curriculum also helped her as she pondered an area of study.
“I had been looking for a major that complemented my interests, and when I took that general course, I loved it,” she said. “They mentioned starting that first undergrad cohort, and I felt it was such an honor to be part of that first group and to see it grow. They were so open to us, and we were able to learn with master’s-level students in some classes.”
Allison said a class focused on advocacy and policy work was transformational for her.
“I knew I wanted to do something related to healthcare, but that class really solidified my interest in how all of the systems work together,” she said.
While at Michigan, Allison was a James B. Angell Scholar and served as a Central Student Government representative. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in Community and Global Public Health in May 2019, she went on to law school, serving as president of the Health Law Society and was director of community outreach for the Middle Eastern Law Student Association.
“While I was in law school, I maintained that focus on healthcare and I did a lot of research on pandemic preparations, research on public health and on the scarcity of resources,” she said.
“Now, I'm doing a lot of work with behavioral health providers and I see that area as one that is changing every day. I work with the providers to make sure that they are in compliance with the ever-evolving body of laws.”
My approach was, let's not narrow my options for the future. I saw that the School of Public Health kept a lot of doors open.”
— Caroline Tuohy
She advises physicians groups, and is also involved in a pro bono project in Detroit that assists individuals in getting their records expunged so that they are able to get housing and employment.
“Those factors are definitely social determinants of health, and they can impact your health every day,” Allison said.
Caroline, who received a Bachelor of Science in Public Health Sciences in 2021, expects to complete her master’s degree in the spring of 2024.
She worked as a research assistant while attending Michigan Public Health, doing extensive study on vaccinations. She also has an internship with FTI/Health Solutions in 2020 before moving up to the role of consultant for two years, and then progressing to senior consultant with that company in October.
She now works on a team that targets effective project management and successful project outcomes. Despite the demands of combining her studies with her consulting leadership role, Caroline said her passion for healthcare continues to intensify.
“I think school really complements my work,” she said. “I had a great foundation from the School of Public Health and now I can take what I do at work into my class discussions. I was at a crossroads as to what I wanted to do, and I had some peers tell me about consulting. I get the opportunity to work with a lot of different agencies on complex issues related to the regulatory environment. It is very demanding and time management is critical, but I enjoy it.”
The Tuohy sisters said the example set by their parents, combined with their time at Michigan Public Health, has provided them with a very valuable lens through which to see the world of public health.
“When people ask ‘What can you do with a public health degree,’ the answer is, you can do anything,” Allison said.