Allison Talan ‘13
Course Manager, School of Medicine, Hofstra University
Tell us about your background and what let you to be interested in the field of community health.
I first became interested in community health after joining a high school club on Long Island dedicated to providing aid, care, and support locally and abroad. I traveled with this group to Nicaragua during my junior and senior year and became interested in learning about why certain communities seemed to respond to disease epidemics differently than others. During my undergraduate career at Brandeis University I was able to focus on learning about the socioeconomic factors that impact health in societies as a Health: Science, Society and Policy major and Anthropology minor. I was fortunate enough to study abroad in both Nairobi, Kenya and Geneva, Switzerland where I focused my learning on the multiple and seemingly inextricable factors that influence the health and development of children and adolescents.
What made you choose Hofstra University's M.S. in Community Health?
Through my undergraduate coursework, personal, and work experiences, I met doctors, social scientists, and PhDs who were committed to addressing the emotional and social needs of youth and their families. I knew that Hofstra University's M.S. in Community Health would expose me to the methods used to determine community and population needs and assets in an effort to design effective programs to increase overall health and well-being.
How has the program benefited you in your role in the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine?
My role as the Course Manager at the School of Medicine has allowed me to expand upon my knowledge of public health and practical skills that I gained through my course work at Hofstra. I am responsible for developing, implementing, and evaluating educational activities and operations and help advise faculty on instructional plans for their teaching sessions. I also work with faculty to evaluate and improve the methods and delivery of the course material. Hofstra University's M.S. in Community Health has provided me with a framework to execute highly effective programs with a multitude of different working pieces and players.
Tell us about your internship at Pride for Youth.
I began interning at Pride for Youth, a service that works to enhance the health and wellbeing of LGBT youth through supportive services, education, and youth development early in 2012. I learned an incredible amount about program design and while creating, administering, and analyzing surveys and conducting focus groups for Pride for Youth. After the completion of my internship, I’ve continued to work with weekly them on a voluntary basis. We are currently assessing the current LGBTQ school climate on Long Island to determine if there is a need for an LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum in middle/high school settings. It has been an enormously impactful and meaningful experience as I continue to integrate culture, disease, and sexuality with data collection and program design
What are your long-term professional goals?
I would ultimately like to design evidence-based interventions in the home and school environment to enhance the physical and mental health of vulnerable youth. I think it’s crucial for vulnerable youth to recognize that there are people working to break down barriers and obstacles that have left them with high rates of disease and poor mental health outcomes! I hope to make spaces safer and more celebratory of diversity in the home, school and community, ultimately improving the lives of young people.
Have you found mentors in the Department of Health Professions?
Faculty members in Hofstra University's M.S. in Community Health and in the Department of Health Professions have provided me with support and guidance to expand my knowledge and interest in the field of public health. Always accessible and engaged, the faculty have not only provided me with valuable information inside the classroom, but also have given me opportunities to meet and work with public health professionals on Long Island.
What is your advice to prospective students looking for a degree in health?
Students interested in learning about health in the context of a society will find Hofstra University's M.S. in Community Health and in the Department a rewarding experience! Health is vast in its impact on the livelihood of persons and I think it’s important to be exposed to the different ways to collectively to assure the environment for people to be healthy.