In honor of Public Health Thank You Day, we will be highlighting public health professionals throughout the day. Our fifth professional today: Alison Chiaramonte, M.P.H., candidate at the Milken Institute of Public Health, George Washington University
After college, I worked for a few years in IT consulting and while I enjoyed my colleagues and grew professionally in a great work environment, I did not feel passionate about the subject matter. I started exploring my personal interests, wondering if it would actually be possible to turn them into a career. I started to define my interests, which ranged from resource conservation and alternative energies to environmental health risks and chronic disease prevention. A friend encouraged me to look at various graduate programs and I felt a connection to GW’s public health program. I saw what the program graduates were doing and realized I could pursue a career that allowed me to express and practice my interests.
What has been the most rewarding component of your current program?
So far, it has been most rewarding to be in class or studying and feel a personal connection to a lot of the subject matter. I think to myself, “That’s what I want to know more about!” or “That’s what I want to dedicate my career to!” I didn’t realize, for example, that I could one day specialize in environmental risk factors for certain kinds of cancer without becoming an oncologist or other medical professional that did not speak to me. My program has shown me that not only is there a niche for me in public health to pursue my passions but that there are various niches I could pursue. It is also rewarding to know that I am building a career that will enable me to give back.
How to you hope to contribute to public health in your future career?
I hope to contribute to the field of knowledge and awareness around environmental health risks and preventative care for chronic diseases. I am not sure yet what my career will evolve to be- consultant, advocate, healthcare provider, businesswoman and more. But, I am studying to enable myself to receive the gift of helping others.
She grew up in Sherman, Conn., and graduated from Hamilton College with a bachelor’s in public policy. She currently lives in Arlington, Va, where she plays in a bocce league, reads, spends time with friends and experiments with new dinner recipes.