Trisha Wood Santos has always had an interest in global health.
While enrolled in the MPH program in Public Health Administration & Policy, she found ways to incorporate global health into her coursework, field experience and the research she conducted at the School of Public Health.
Santos currently serves as a program officer for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Family Planning Team, in Seattle, Wash. She works with grantees and other partners to develop and manage projects for improving access and availability of family planning products and services in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Specifically, she works with the development of new contraceptive technologies that address barriers to use among women.
This work is a big change from her graduate research where she focused on U.S. health insurance issues. Even so, she has found the skills earned through the PHAP program to be applicable in her current work.
“I use a lot of the skills I learned in the PHAP program including research methods, data analysis, policy formulation and writing.”
Santos was attracted to the University of Minnesota School of Public Health because of its high academic ranking, small class sizes and faculty support. She also has family in the region and spent most of her childhood in Minnesota. She joined the PHAP program because of the wide range of educational focuses it provides.
“I was attracted because of the ability to learn a wide range of skills including program and organizational management, policy formulation and research methods and evaluation.”
Throughout her graduate education, Santo’s interests often drove her to seek further opportunities in global health. After earning her MPH she served in the Peace Corps in Panama. She encourages other students to expand on their interests while in the program.
“Focus on what interests you and find ways to incorporate it, even if it is not the main focus of your studies or job. By seeking out additional opportunities outside of your immediate responsibilities, you can further your knowledge and expertise.”