Christine Girard, N.D., MPH

Christine Girard Improves Public Health Through Increased Collaboration.

Like a disease with no visible symptoms, the key to improving public health is often overlooked: To save more lives, everyone must work together. That core belief has driven Master of Public Health online instructor Christine Girard’s 20-year career.

“Since the beginning, I have been interested in teaching medical professionals by crossing professional lines and embracing inter-professional education,” Dr. Girard said.

She got her start in public health training as a naturopathic physician at Griffin Hospital in Connecticut. While there, she co-founded the Integrated Medical Center, an outpatient integrative clinic that also taught medical students and residents. At the same time, she worked at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center where her team earned a Center for Disease Control and Prevention grant to further important research. She was also there when tragedy struck, putting her in the middle of a major public health issue.

“We had no idea until one of our colleagues called us and said, ‘Turn on the radio,’” Dr. Girard said. “It rocked us on a very personal level. Griffin was a tertiary hospital for New York City during the 9/11 crisis. We also dealt with subsequent anthrax scares and cases.”

Community Is the Cure

Dr. Girard later moved to Arizona and transitioned her career to higher education. That’s when she discovered the University of Arizona’s master’s in public health online and enrolled as a student. Now she teaches Fundamentals of Health Budgeting and Financial Management, joining an inspiring faculty that shares her passion for collaborative growth.
“Faculty members are deeply engaged in research, community service, course development and instruction,” Dr. Girard said. “There is quite a bit of cross-pollination that occurs. Faculty members are expert role models serving as examples of successful public health professionals.”

It’s this diverse approach that she said helps students broaden both the scope and impact of their work.

“The MPH degree online is an enormously practical degree,” Dr. Girard said. “Its utility crosses professions and sectors. Trained to see the bigger picture and work with diverse groups, you can guide change and encourage collaboration at any level.”

A United Effort. A Better Future.

By investigating current trends, Dr. Girard works with students to improve the quality and delivery of health services, which can have far-reaching consequences.

“We’re all in this together and our best solutions come from working together,” Professor Girard said. “The online MPH program stresses group work and highlights community-based participatory research. These efforts go a long way in preparing the next generation of public health professionals.”