With plans to attend medical school, Sarah Ackroyd decided to earn an MPH in health services administration first to learn about the methodology and research areas of the current health care system.
She chose to attend UB for the program’s solid background in public health and its flexibility to suit her specific areas of interest, including translational research, economic applications and outcomes research.
“Graduate school is a time to explore the academic areas that you find interesting, and the professors at UB embrace this idea,” she said. “I found that the professors were supportive in helping me find my academic niche and finding the fieldwork experiences that made my graduate work meaningful to my interests.”
Ackroyd completed her fieldwork and integrative project—evaluating the impact of a diabetes education program in underserved populations in a medical home—at the UB Primary Care Research Institute within UB’s Department of Family Medicine.
“The professors in the department empowered me to become an autonomous leader in my project,” she said. “I led my own study, creating the methodology, gaining human subjects review and completing every step of the data analysis. I gained invaluable leadership and investigator skills while working on this project.
“The graduate program also offered a variety of enrichment activities for students to explore different areas of public health,” she continued. “I was an active participant in a bi-monthly journal club, where we would discuss the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. This group enhanced my knowledge of real-time surveillance and public health issues.
“Moreover, Buffalo as a city has everything a graduate student could ask for—plenty of dining and entertainment, Canada nearby and all at an affordable price that enables any graduate student to live comfortably.”
Ackroyd completed the program in just one year and is now enrolled in medical school at the University of Rochester.