Lauren Sinks is the outgoing President of the USC Master of Public Health Student Association (MaPHSA), a student-run organization that provides peer support to our Master of Public Health (MPH) Trojans. In this role, she led a board of 10 members and served as a liaison to the Department. She was a member of the Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) committee, the Steering Committee, and created and hosted several events including the annual MaPHSA Homecoming Tailgate. MaPHSA partnered with local philanthropic organizations and served the community through volunteering opportunities including at the LA Regional Food Bank.
Sinks was the Health Science Campus Director of Communications for Graduate Student Government (GSG), and was a member of the Student Health Advisory Community (SHAC) and HSC Research and Development Committee. Through GSG, she developed the HSC Student Experiences Survey to understand unmet needs of the graduate student population and how to address them.
Why did you choose to pursue your degree at USC?
USC has a renowned legacy for excellence in leadership, education, and research. As the MPH program is a top program on the national and global stages, I knew this is where I wanted to further my education to better understand health disparities and address them through public health and clinical interventions and policy solutions. With its location in the heart of Los Angeles, there is a uniqueness to learn from, and work with diverse populations and professors. USC above all boasts a close-knit camaraderie that is unparalleled; I have met some of the most gifted and kind-hearted people whom I look forward to working with in the future. My dad, who is also an alumnus, instilled the important of this place; I was one year old at his graduation, and I am so happy that he will be celebrating mine with me 25 years later. I am happy, proud, and incredibly privileged to call USC home. Fight On!✌️
What course in the program did you enjoy the most and why?
I really enjoyed taking PM 567: Public Health Disaster Management & Response taught by Dr. Rita Burke as we got to take field trips to the LA Fire Department and Emergency Operations Center! I also enjoyed both PM 503: Practice of Public Health and PM 597: Capstone. I enjoyed these courses due to the wonderful energy and support Dr. Burke, Dr, Hempel, and Dr. Steinberg—I am grateful for their mentorship and expertise.
Where did you complete your practicum requirement and what did you learn from your experience?
I completed a practicum with INSAN Foundation and the Randall Lewis Health & Policy Fellowship. At INSAN, I worked on planning and coordinating a free health clinic in Pomona, CA to address the unmet health care needs in the homeless population. Additionally, I worked on a research team and published an abstract entitled “Association Between Housing Insecurity with Reduced Access to Healthcare and Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: The Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Study.” Through the Randall Lewis Fellowship, I was matched at the Community Health Improvement Program (CHIP) Department at San Antonio Regional Hospital where I worked on various reports and made post-hospital discharge calls to assess and address unmet social determinants of health in patients with chronic conditions.
What are you planning to do after graduation?
I have aspirations to attend medical school and apply my MPH degree to my medical education, and future career as a physician, and possibly—dreaming big here and a few years down the line—serve in office as a state Surgeon General. In the coming months, I will be getting married, moving across the country, and applying for public health jobs!