Master of Public Health In Focus: Pamela A. Smith, JD, MPH

Tell us about your background and what led you to be interested in the field of Public Health.
My experiences as a civil litigation defense attorney contributed to my interest in public health. In the course of preparing cases, I came to recognize certain recurring issues: (1) the inability of individuals to adequately recover from accidents due to preexisting conditions stemming from chronic disease; and (2) the increasing and, at times, prohibitive cost of health care treatment.  I decided to explore ways to shift the course of my career to pursue one which directly promotes public health.

What attracted you to Hofstra University's MPH program?
I was attracted to the Hofstra University MPH program because it offered a dual JD/MPH degree. This signified that Hofstra would have the resources to develop my interest and education in public health law. 

Describe your experience working and studying with faculty.
My experience at Hofstra was overwhelmingly positive. The student cohort was diverse and brought different perspectives to various public health issues while remaining open-minded and welcoming. The faculty, comprised of seasoned public health professionals, provided an atmosphere that contributed to learning from a “real world” perspective. 

Tell us how the program prepared you for employment.
The program provided a comprehensive public health education which prepared me well for a career in public health law. In addition to traditional classroom learning, several opportunities were presented to attend community health events/meetings. These gave insight into the practical application of the coursework. My culminating experience and internship provided the opportunity to speak at community forums and conduct community outreach.

What is your advice for prospective students looking for a degree in health?
My advice for prospective students pursuing a degree in public health is to reach out to alumni and other individuals who work in their field of interest and discuss the rewards and challenges of that type of work. Securing an internship or volunteering for an organization in your area of interest would also be beneficial.

Pamela A. Smith, JD, MPH

Master of Public Health '15
Hometown: Jericho, NY