Saba Doustmohammadi earns her Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in biostatistics and epidemiology.
Why did you choose to pursue your degree?
The start of my MPH program was during the beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from the world-class reputation of USC, I chose the MPH Online program at Keck School of Medicine partly for its online flexibility which allowed me to manage my time much more efficiently compared to other programs as well as for its complete preparedness for the demands of the times we were all living in, with work and lifestyles shifting to remote and virtual formats for an uncertain period of time. Importantly, the pragmatic design of the program where it created a shared space wherein students and professionals in the field could connect with one another from all across the globe made it an incredibly attractive choice.
What has been your biggest accomplishment during your studies?
I completed two practicums in the 2021 fall semester. For one of my practicums, I worked full-time weekend shifts with the Los Angeles County (LAC) Department of Public Health (DPH) in the Case and Contact Interview Branch as both a Team Lead and Contact Tracer for COVID-19. During the 3-month internship period, I completed over 240 hours, handled more than 1,200 cases and worked with 22 team members, interviewed cases and provided health education on COVID-19 and vaccines. A month into my practicum, I was honored to receive a medal of special recognition awarded by the LA County Department of Public Health for my contributions and dedication to the field of public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What’s an important lesson you learned?
One of the beauties of the public health field is that it highlights the interconnectedness of people and the common goals and interests of humanity. I have come to learn that great success in population and public health sciences heavily relies on strong bonds made through collaboration, and I join all our professionals and graduates in working together to uphold the core values of public health every single day.
What’s one of your favorite memories from your program?
One of my favorite memories is meeting the incredibly talented, intelligent, passionate, and dedicated students and faculty who have done and continue to carry out exceptionally important work in the field. I am proud to be a part of this outstanding cohort of bright minds, and have been gifted with great friendships to cherish for many years to come.
What are you doing after you graduate?
I plan to advance my education on a doctoral level. Meanwhile, following a full time work offer at my second practicum site in fall, I plan to continue as an infection prevention analyst in the Clinical Epidemiology and Infection Prevention Department of UCLA Health, where I provide coverage for Ronald Reagan Medical Center and Santa Monica Hospital. Additionally, I am continuing my work with Elsevier on the 9th edition of Feigin and Cherry’s Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, where I am currently also co-authoring five chapters alongside Dr. James D. Cherry.
What do you look forward to in your career path?
I look forward to getting involved with national and global initiatives as well as launching research studies and health campaigns to address pressing public health issues in areas including but not limited to infectious diseases, health equity, vaccine hesitancy, and beyond. The field of public health is incredibly vast and the need for public health professionals is greater than ever. I am excited to continue my journey and ready for what lies ahead.