Master’s Degree in Public Health
Shamim Noorani received a master’s degree in public health, with a concentration in environmental and occupational health, from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. She works at a global research, consulting, and technology firm, where she provides support to partner hospitals and health systems to make their procedures and processes more efficient. Noorani received her undergraduate degree in 2010 from Emory University, where she majored in environmental studies and minored in global health, cultures, and society. Her decision to pursue public health stems from her desire to make an impact on others through her work.
Why did you choose to pursue a degree in public health?
Public health is a degree that spans many disciplines, and [it] can be applied in micro and macro contexts. Public health involves simple acts, such as carrying hand sanitizer around to protect oneself from germs, to working alongside non-profit organizations to empower women and attain the Millennium Development Goals. I could see myself having a long-term career in this field, using it as a vehicle to make a positive impact on society.
Was the course of study what you expected it to be?
I was incredibly surprised [by] the wide breadth of topics and situations that fall into the realm of public health. My courses ranged from toxicology and epidemiology to examining the U.S Constitution for clear evidence of the undertones and public health in the law. Public health is all around us, and my course of study while at the Rollins School of Public Health truly exposed me to the various dimensions and lenses that it can be viewed through.
What did you like and dislike about the major/program?
Although I greatly appreciated the range in class selection, I disliked the separation of topics into standard categories (i.e. biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, health policy and management, and global health) because I believe that public health is inherently interdisciplinary in its nature. It should be taught and learned through an experimental design, in which we learn from case studies and best practices. As the future leaders in public health, we should evaluate topics from all angles and work together to find a solution.
What did you learn while studying public health that you have been able to apply to your career?
While pursuing my degree in public health, I learned that no two diseases, no two outbreaks, no two injustices are the same and that it takes research and analysis to find the underlying issues and collaboration amongst several groups of people to arrive at a resolution. These concepts and skills are directly applicable to my work as a consultant to hospitals because I bring the various departments and directors around the table to work through issues regarding patient access and billing, and to determine how they can work collaboratively.
Is there anything you would do differently regarding this degree?
I pursued a dual degree program in order to save time. If I could do it differently, I would have liked to have clearly separated my undergraduate experience from my graduate and extended my time in graduate school in order to take more courses that I was interested in.
What advice do you have for prospective students who are interested in this major?
Challenge yourself intellectually, explore your curiosities, follow your passion, and no matter where you end up, public health will be there. Take advantage of the numerous resources your program has to offer from the staff to the volunteer opportunities and view each day as a learning opportunity.