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Nutrition Trainer Uses MPH to Help Influence Public Health Policy | Sep 16, 2016

Desiree Fields
As an educator, Desiree Fields has worked through the Arizona Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to promote healthy living. Her work ensures that the dietitians, nutritionists and counselors she trains follow important safety regulations. Her training keeps their dietary guidance in line, trickling down to their clients and leading to a healthier community.

“I work with the state Department of Public Health to make sure that my local Maricopa County employees are following policy and procedures,” Desiree said. “I love what I do. I love talking about nutrition. I love working with my staff’s clients, too.”

That passion led her to the University of Arizona’s online Master of Public Health. Currently enrolled, Desiree finds the program is already opening her eyes to new dimensions of public health.

“I have been working in public health for several years, but in taking these exciting courses, I have re-learned in an online setting what it means to be a public health professional,” Desiree said.

Flexibility to Feed Career Goals

Desiree is new to online learning, and she credits the online MPH with making the education she sought more accessible. She balances her coursework with a full-time work schedule, and she said this duality has helped her translate newly learned concepts into her work.

“This revolutionary online MPH program is already helping me to further my career goals by allowing me to utilize much of what I have learned thus far from the core classes in my everyday public health and nutrition career,” Desiree said. “I also now have a better grasp of how to read crucial public health studies.”

She also has established new contacts through online discussions that she feels could lead to future opportunities.

“I’ve definitely networked, and some of my colleagues are like, ‘Hey, if you ever want to move to California, my company would love to have someone with a nutrition background,’” Desiree said.

Fresh Insights for the Future

Recently, Desiree’s role has expanded to include a new project where she advises on policy. Equipped with new skills through the health administration concentration of the online MPH, she now feels more prepared to meet new challenges with confidence.

“I chose to focus my online MPH in Health Administration, which will allow me to study quite a bit of policy work,” Desiree said. “That’s what I’ve been helping to do with the Maricopa County Tiny Work program. I’m one of the policy experts, and I do a lot of reports. I look at policies and suggest ways to further enhance our public health program here in Arizona. I really want to do that more in my career in the future, and I know that this program has already prepared me.”