Early-Career Public Health Professional: Julie Babyar

In honor of Public Health Thank You Day, we will be highlighting public health professionals throughout the day. Our third  professional today is Julie Babyar, R.N., M.P.H., a science policy intern at Research!America.

What drew you to a career in public health?

JulieWhen I started college, I originally intended to follow an animal sciences path. I took a population health class and soon decided to study nursing. From there, I felt a very natural instinct and draw to public health. In public health, you have an opportunity to make a difference by problem solving for communities on a large scale as well as for the individual community member. Looking back, I was raised and grew up with a strong sense of community, so it’s a natural fit.

What do you enjoy most about your current position as an early career public health professional?

The position I have now is one of the most rewarding I’ve had. As an intern, I’m given so many opportunities to learn and connect with partners and stakeholders in medical research. I love understanding and shaping policy and advocacy for health, and my colleagues provide me with mentorship every day. Public trust is just as important as trust within the medical community for health policy, and great communication builds that for any organization. Having experience in multiple health sectors allows me to share my perspective as well. Truly, connecting and building relationships is my favorite part of the job. As a society, we don’t always agree on health issues and policies. Relationships help us to understand, compromise and build together, and that’s what I love about this job and this organization.

How do you hope to contribute to the field of public health in your career in the future?

I hope that I can contribute to public health by advocating for programs that are evidence-based, cost effective and in the best interest of the people. I’d like to promote and shape policy around a stronger biomedical research environment, and I believe one of the best ways to accomplish that is by ensuring a strong public health system. Advances in public health (vaccines, sanitation systems, food and environmental safety) are the reason for better life quality and longevity. Basic access to timely care and providers is now part of that backbone and drive, as is biomedical emergency preparedness. I’d like to ensure we’re doing the best we can, both for private health care partnerships and for people. And I’d like to see significant reductions in violence and child neglect/abuse as well as significant advancements in brain and genetic research.

She grew up in Addison, Ill., and graduated from Elmhurst College with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She holds a master’s degree in public health from Northern Illinois University. She currently lives in Chicago, where she spends time with family/friends and enjoys reading and practicing yoga.

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