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This Month's Alumni Spotlight

 

Jessica Steier

Jessica Steier, DrPH, MPH, PMP

Class of 2010

Health Analytics 

This month’s Alumni Spotlight, PPH alumni student, Dr. Jessica Steier Chapin, is the recipient of 2021 Norman H. Edelman Award for the MPH program. This award recognizes excellence among our alumni who are 3 years or more post-graduation from MPH degree, and also honors the legacy of core faculty member, Dr. Edelman, who began the MPH program as part of his visionary leadership in the early 2000s. Prior recipients of the award represent the diversity of careers a public health degree can achieve to improve the health of populations in a variety of setting.

Jessica graduated from Stony Brook University with her BS in Health Science and Health Administration in 2008 and her MPH in Evaluation Sciences in 2010. After receiving her MPH, earned a DrPH from CUNY Graduate Center, and then co-founded a successful consulting firm called Vital Statistics Consulting. This year, in addition to her important roles (including being a mother of two beautiful children), Jess branched out on a new science communication venture. She worked with another Stony Brook Alumna (Andrea Love) to create her own podcast and social media account called Unbiased Science with over 100,000 followers. To learn more about their podcast "The Unbiased Science", click here

How did you find out about this opportunity and what has the process been like?

I am a proud alumna of the Program in Public Health and remain on the mailing list even though I graduated over a decade ago! I learned about this opportunity through the program's listserv.

What made you decide to apply?

To be honest, I have applied and been nominated in the past-- but this year felt different. The pandemic made my work in healthcare data analytics and scientific communication feel very relevant to the spirit of this award. Further, Dr. Edelman holds a very special place in my heart as a former professor and mentor. His coursework inspired me to pursue a career in the field of health policy evaluation.

What was it like delivering a speech at this year’s convocation ceremony?

Honestly, I have goosebumps just thinking about it! The pandemic has made it clear to the world that public health is not just important-- it is a necessity. Speaking to the next generation of public health professionals made me feel like a general preparing soldiers for battle. It was an incredible honor-- though I must admit I was a bit anxious speaking in front of my former professors-- especially Dr. Edelman!

How do you hope Norman H. Edelman Award will positively impact your studies or future career?

I have my plaque displayed proudly in my office. It will continue to inspire me to rigorously evaluate health policies intended to positively impact public health, and to continue my mission of translating complex scientific topics to the general public. We have a lot more work to do!

 

Previous Alumni Spotlight 

Rebecca Dreyer MPH

 

Rebecca Dreyer, MPH, MSSA, LMSW

Class of 2017

Community Health

Rebecca Dreyer graduated from Stony Brook University with her MPH degree in 2017 with a concentration in Community Health. After graduating, Rebecca worked as a Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist in Suffolk Country, providing evidence-based programs in schools and conducting community needs assessments. Afterward, Becca went back to school for clinical social work with hopes of providing psychotherapy to trauma survivors and work with communities to address trauma-related issues. Becca graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a Master of Science in Social Administration and received her Licensed Masters Social Worker professional licensure. After witnessing the devastating effects of the pandemic on the community. She used both public health and social work approaches to address the resulting trauma and stressors. Becca is currently working as a crisis counselor and doing public health outreach for EAC Network, a provider agency for NY Project Hope, a COVID-19 crisis counseling program. They offer free, anonymous, and confidential crisis counseling to anyone suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Suffolk Country throughout their helpline. Trained crisis counselors are available to provide emotional support implement evidence-based coping skills and give the caller a safe space to process their stressors. Topics include anxiety, grief and loss, stress related to unemployment, and food insecurity. They also offer public education sessions and support groups to the community to raise awareness and help with stress management. In addition to crisis counseling, they conduct assessments and provide referrals for longer-term interventions and resources. Becca hopes that there will be a cultural shift, resulting in less stigmatization of mental health problems and more individuals will seek needed mental health care. By implementing this program, their goal is to raise awareness and normalize the emotions and somatic presentations of the constant stress and collective trauma that we are all experiencing.