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Online MPH Helps Nurse Transition Her Career While Living Abroad | Sep 16, 2016

Emily Ann Vega
In her 17-year nursing career, Emily Ann Vega has worked in the States and volunteered abroad, with a continual focus on educating ailing populations. From hospitals to field settings in Peru, she has witnessed how education and proper care combine to change lives.

“There’s a group that comes to Peru, and I’ve been able to see what the system is like here,” Emily said. “I’ve seen how really life-changing it can be for these children who have cleft lip and cleft palate repairs who otherwise maybe would not have had the chance to have it done.”

Living outside the country, Emily was seeking an online program that spoke to her passion for health promotion. That’s when she discovered the University of Arizona’s online Master of Public Health, with a concentration in Health Behavior Health Promotion. It not only aligns with her professional goals, but also her personal motivation to make a difference.

“My family has a strong history of diabetes, and the Latino population is affected by that, and anything I can do to help prevent that in my own family, that kind of keeps you going,” Emily said.

Flexible Program, Accessible Support

Since she started the online MPH, Emily said the rigor of the curriculum has helped her grow.

“The professors are very knowledgeable and helpful,” she said. “The classes can be challenging at times, but allow me to push myself intellectually. I like that the classes are interactive by using discussion boards, group projects and online conferences.”

Within her courses and as she works toward her degree, Emily accesses a support system to promote her success, both academically and personally.

“The program offers many resources that help students accomplish their goals,” Emily said. “Communicating with the professors and the program coordinator is easy by email, and their willingness to help goes a long way.”

An MPH to Make a Difference

An interest in helping people has always been at the root of Emily’s career. To her, the online MPH is a practical step toward a more idealistic future.

“It’s important to me that everybody has the same access to healthcare,” Emily said. “A lot of people who live in poverty don’t have that advantage of always getting the help they need. It would be tough, but that would be the dream I’d like to see come true.”

Her goal is to use the online MPH degree to build upon her nursing career and discover more opportunities to make a difference.

“The program has allowed me to continue to advance my education from an international location, something that I thought would be impossible a few years back,” Emily said. “Learning the fundamentals of public health will provide a solid basis for my future career in the profession.”