Student Spotlight: Jerry O.
An Online Program For All Ages
1. Could you please share a short background about yourself?
I am a registered respiratory therapist with 50 years of clinical, teaching, publishing and home healthcare ownership. I live in the Dayton, Ohio area, where I was born and raised.
My “job,” at this time, is the completion of my online Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. I am choosing to follow the path to my MPH at this stage of my life, because my interest in population health and my prior experience of working one-on-one with chronic lung disease patients complement each other.
In fact, my practicum is at the Dayton VA Medical Center, where I am researching population health of the chronic lung disease patients in regards to health literacy and evidence-based practices to reduce readmissions.
2. How is your experience with the program so far?
Since it has been a while since I enrolled in any type of academic pursuit, I have found gaining familiarity with Blackboard Learn and the professors’ expectations to be very achievable. In fact, several professors come to mind when it comes to ease of communication and willingness to help this older student.
3. What has been your favorite part of the program? Do you have a favorite course?
Two courses come immediately to mind: Ken Slenkovich’s Community Health Needs Assessments course and Dr. Sheryl Chatfield’s Health Behavior and Health Education course.
In fact, I enjoyed Slenkovich’s so much I’m signing up for his other elective option of Sex: A Wicked Public Health Problem.
4. What made you choose to go online for your Master of Public Health?
I wanted the flexibility of not having to commit to a specific classroom time schedule each week. Since my earlier undergraduate experience at the University of Dayton was pre-computer, I also wanted to see what this type of learning experience would be like.
5. Would you recommend this program?
Most definitely. In fact, a recent conversation I had with an Ohio State University MPH professor about the MPH program at Kent State led her to say she felt KSU was definitely proactive by having one of the very first online MPH programs!
6. What are your career plans after you graduate with your master’s degree?
I wish to combine my clinical, publishing and entrepreneurial experiences to do consulting on various healthcare matters, emphasizing how health literacy and evidence-based best practices can, when combined, lead to a more effective long-term outcome for patients.
My ultimate goal is to write a monthly healthcare column in a widely read and respected lay publication that patients could access and understand to improve their healthcare.