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Damaris Bell

Master of Public Health (MPH) in Social and Behavioral Sciences
School of Public Health
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He is an excellent student adviser and he goes far beyond the call to ensure that student voices are heard that we all have a place and person to go to when we are feeling lost or uncertain about our academic paths. Lastly, but most certainly not least, Dr. <a href=\"https://directory.hsc.wvu.edu/Profile/45059\">Linda Alexander</a>. She has helped me tremendously in many ways, particularly though she has helped me to identify how I could best use my voice and my experiences to aid in my role in public health as a social and behavioral scholar. I could say so much more about so many other faculty members in the School of Public Health because they all work very hard to ensure that students are getting the greatest possible educational experience during our time within WVU School of Public Health.</p>\r\n<h2>What would you tell prospective students about WVU and the School of Public Health?<span>   </span></h2>\r\n<p>WVU School of Public Health is an amazing place to learn and discover who you are and can be as a public health warrior. The faculty and staff do an outstanding job in ensuring the personal, professional and academic growth of all of us (students) and they do their best to make our experience in the School of Public Health well worth the hard work. The environment is much more like family than just professional associates and that made a huge difference for me as an out of state student. I won't tell you that it is easy, but I will tell you that it is worth it.</p>\r\n<h2>What advice would you give to your freshman self?</h2>\r\n<p>If I could go back to 2013, I would tell freshman Damaris to give herself some grace and to realize how far she has come and what she has already been able to accomplish. I would remind her that she is doing her best and that her dreams are possible. I would tell her to enjoy the next four years and to soak in every moment of her undergraduate experience.</p>"}

What I most love about public health is the focus of any discipline is on entire communities and not individual health.

Why did you choose to study public health at WVU?

I chose WVU School of Public Health because of my desire to learn about the intricacies of rural health, disparities that are unique to rural populations and how rurality intersects with other disparities and significant health outcomes of other marginalized communities and how I could best serve members of those communities in the future as a physician.

What does public health mean to you?

The mission of public health is to cultivate solutions to recurrent and pressing issues in healthcare that create lasting impacts in society. To me, this means that public health professionals have the responsibility to identify and address health disparities and inequities across populations, in order to educate and empower communities and to find innovative and impactful ways to impart sustainable change in the overall health outcomes of our society. What I most love about public health is the focus of any discipline is on entire communities and not individual health. Effective public health work allows for the public to be involved in the implementation of policy, law and interventions that are being developed that will influence the overall health of the total population. I believe that as a future physician, my role in public health would be able to utilize my knowledge and experience gained from my MPH in order to aid in improving health prevention strategies and promoting better healthcare education delivery to marginalized, underserved populations.

Have you had any particular professors who have made an impact on you?

While I could give glowing reviews about many faculty members in the School of Public Health, there were a few who I feel deserve a personal mention. First, Dr. Ranjita Misra encouraged my passion for exploring disparities and health inequities among rural populations and granted me the opportunity to conduct research through her DHSMP program. She is a major contributor as to why I decided to earn my MPH. Also, Mr. Scot McIntosh has been vital to my success during my time here at WVU. He is an excellent student adviser and he goes far beyond the call to ensure that student voices are heard that we all have a place and person to go to when we are feeling lost or uncertain about our academic paths. Lastly, but most certainly not least, Dr. Linda Alexander. She has helped me tremendously in many ways, particularly though she has helped me to identify how I could best use my voice and my experiences to aid in my role in public health as a social and behavioral scholar. I could say so much more about so many other faculty members in the School of Public Health because they all work very hard to ensure that students are getting the greatest possible educational experience during our time within WVU School of Public Health.

What would you tell prospective students about WVU and the School of Public Health?  

WVU School of Public Health is an amazing place to learn and discover who you are and can be as a public health warrior. The faculty and staff do an outstanding job in ensuring the personal, professional and academic growth of all of us (students) and they do their best to make our experience in the School of Public Health well worth the hard work. The environment is much more like family than just professional associates and that made a huge difference for me as an out of state student. I won't tell you that it is easy, but I will tell you that it is worth it.

What advice would you give to your freshman self?

If I could go back to 2013, I would tell freshman Damaris to give herself some grace and to realize how far she has come and what she has already been able to accomplish. I would remind her that she is doing her best and that her dreams are possible. I would tell her to enjoy the next four years and to soak in every moment of her undergraduate experience.

Let’s go.