Health and Human Rights Studies in Switzerland and Nicaragua Help May Grad Plan for Future
Josh Ambrose, BSPH graduated in May 2016 from the College of Public Health with a concentration in Global Health. He studied health and human rights advocacy in Geneva, Switzerland and conducted independent research in Nicaragua when leading a medical mission trip serving the poor and the forgotten. Josh starts his graduate studies this fall in the MPH program at CPH and currently works for the Cleveland Clinic as a patient service representative. In a Q&A, Josh explains how his academic and career experiences merged to help him best serve the health care needs of the public.
How did your time in Geneva change your perspective and prepare you for a career in public health?
During my studies in Geneva, I attended the World Health Organization Executive Board Meetings as an intern for the non-governmental organization Forum for Health. The Executive Board Meetings present a unique opportunity for delegates from each member state to interact and discuss important public health issues such as global climate change, poverty, nutrition, hunger, war, and the spread of infectious and chronic diseases. What surprised me most during these meetings was the relational manner in which the meetings were conducted and the honesty of communications between nations. I was amazed that the WHO empowers delegates from all countries to relate with one another and to view the world through a public health lens despite political conflict, international strife, and difference in cultures, religion, or even war. These meetings showed how public health brings all people together and unites them under the banner of common good.
What have you learned at the Cleveland Clinic to help connect health care to public health? Do you think the two are separate?
My work at the Cleveland Clinic has allowed me to better witness the interconnectedness of public health initiatives and health care practices. I learned that practicing medicine and prescribing medications are only a small fraction of the solution to the much larger issue of interpersonal, economic, organizational and community factors that perpetuate public health problems. As a future health care administrator, I want to adopt a public health approach to address the source factors that contribute to a particular illness or condition. This proactive public health approach will truly address the contributing factors in an effort to prevent future incidence of disease.
Have any of the CPH faculty been especially helpful in connecting you to these opportunities? Have any faculty helped to understand what you want to do with your career?
Dr. Abbey L. Eng (Assistant Professor) served as my professor-mentor throughout my undergraduate career. After taking her biostatistics course, I was inspired to conduct independent research of my own that ultimately led to the publication of my Senior Honors Thesis, Evaluating Community Dependence on Medical Missions in Nicaragua. I’m extremely thankful to have had Dr. Eng’s guidance throughout college as she helped me experience real-world applications of public health.
What would you recommend to future students?
The CPH offers an immense wealth of volunteer, research, and internship opportunities each year. Taking advantage of these resources helped me develop a solid understanding of how public health interventions operate in the real world. My advice to all future students is to take advantage of the resources offered by the CPH and cultivate a truly hands-on learning experience.
Why do you want to continue on to an MPH at CPH?
I believe that earning a graduate degree in public health furthers my plan to serve disenfranchised populations in developing countries. Growing up as the son of two missionary parents, I’ve had ample opportunity to witness public health humanitarian efforts and missions trips around the globe. I am passionate about exploring the delicate relationship between the beneficial and harmful effects of international humanitarian aid and how this assistance, if implemented incorrectly, can perpetuate the cycle of poverty and dependence on foreign aid. My ultimate goal is to utilize my education in public health to serve refugee and displaced populations through the effective and sustainable implementation of humanitarian aid.
I recently accepted a position as a Program Manager of Staffing Resources at the Cleveland Clinic. I will start on August 8th and I will be working on several initiatives to optimize staffing management across the enterprise, quality control for newly hired clerical workers, as well as a few other continuous improvement initiatives. I am grateful to be able to begin this next chapter of my life.