Grace Ayoub is a second-year student in the Master of Public Health program, with a concentration in health services administration.
Health services administration allowed me to blend my management and accounting experience into the world of health care. I have always wanted to work in an environment where I can make an impact on people’s quality of life. This concentration has a very broad application and the faculty emphasized the marketability of these skills. It is not limited to traditional healthcare industry organizations which give me fluidity in my career path. The Health Services Administration concentration let me explore all aspects of health, healthcare management and get creative to think how public health can apply in other industries.
After graduating from UB’s School of Management in 2019, I worked as an accountant for almost two years before I decided to go back to school for Public Health to broaden my skill set. Aside from SPHHP’s incredible reputation, I chose to return to UB because they have deep roots in the communities and industries across Western New York and beyond. The biggest draw was the emphasis on experiential learning. Working in the field before graduating made it was very easy to see the trajectory of my career, find my passion, make connections and test my skills.
The coursework is so engaging and encourages students to learn from each other. I pursued the MPH because I wanted more knowledge in a scientific field, but I have learned the program is way more than just STEM. The classes offered are a great mix of management, economics, biology, epidemiology, and more with students from all different backgrounds. They set students up to be very well-rounded. My favorite classes so far have been the Biological Basis of Health and Health Economics. The professors are constantly using examples from their own work to help guide the lectures and bring topics to life.
The entire MPH program has been wonderful because it is so dynamic. What I have enjoyed the most is field training. This is a requirement for all MPH programs and is similar to an internship experience. UB’s MPH program is extremely flexible and accommodating with helping each student find an industry, organization and particular role for students to gain actual professional experience. Field training truly brings all of our coursework into action. I also really enjoy that the students in each of my classes come from all different professional backgrounds and industries. This helps to understand different perspectives that are necessary for public health because the field is so interrelated to many different industries.
The best-fit role for me would be working within a health care system working with hospital finance and operations. I believe this is the best culmination of my previous experiences, knowledge and personal interest in helping people live a better quality of life. My current field training position at Mount St. Mary’s Hospital has been vital in shaping and reinforcing my career choices and defining how I fit into health care. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with. They have gone above and beyond to provide a truly comprehensive experience of every administrative position and their duties. I even got to participate in projects such as planning to open Lockport Memorial Hospital. I even got to rotate through some clinical roles by shadowing social workers, an ER nurse, accreditation surveyors and a surgeon! My field training experience truly made the content I had learned in class come to life and allowed me to engage in each activity as a professional would working for a health system.
Receiving my MPH from UB sets me apart because UB places a strong emphasis on community. Prior to graduating, UB’s MPH program provides students endless opportunities to make connections and try out all sorts of roles. The faculty are incredible guides that are motivated to help each student. The student-faculty relationships here at UB continue long after graduation to help future generations of health professionals and grow the community. Personally, I have wonderful working relationships with so many of the faculty in this program. This created a truly personalized experience to reach my own goals, stand out as an individual and gain support from my classmates and faculty. UB pushes each student to establish goals and create an agenda specific to them rather than just obtaining a degree in public health.