Dr. Etienne Pracht receives PHSA Excellence in Teaching award

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As the spring 2015 semester came to a close, exceptional students weren’t the only ones recognized for their achievements in the USF College of Public Health.

At the conclusion of each academic year, the Public Health Student Association presents the Public Health Excellence in Teaching award.  This year’s awardee is Dr. Etienne Pracht, associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management.

Dr. Etienne Pracht

Dr. Etienne Pracht

In nominating Pracht for the recognition, doctoral student Jessica Ryan noted that Pracht teaches courses on all levels – undergraduate, master’s and doctoral – and across the HPM curriculum.

“Every degree program offered in the department requires a course taught by Dr. Pracht,” she said, “meaning he is impacting each student [who] comes through HPM.”

Ryan said she has worked for Pracht as a graduate teaching or research assistant for four semesters, but didn’t fully appreciate his dedication until her last course with him, Application in Health Economics.

“Dr. Pracht worked with all students individually on projects that [they] were interested in,” she said.  “We took the lead in our research, while he offered advice along the way.  We were given our grades at the end of the summer semester, yet Dr. Pracht is still today meeting with us, editing papers and offering suggestions almost a year later.

“I am comfortable approaching all of the professors in my department for help or advice.  However, I feel the most support and encouragement from Dr. Pracht.  He not only remembers what it is like to be a student but knows the tools and achievements we will need to enter the workforce and does his best to provide us with those.”

Pracht graduated from the Department of Economics at Louisiana State University with specialties in health care economics and applied econometrics.  He also earned a graduate minor at LSU in computer science to complement his non-academic experience as a software engineer.

His research interests focus on two main areas: the economics of Medicaid policies, with particular emphasis on provider reimbursement mechanisms and cost-containment efforts; and the Florida trauma system, with an emphasis on health outcomes.  He has published several major journal articles in both areas.

(from left) Doctoral student Jessica Ryan, Dr. Etienne Pracht, and Brian Brijbag, president of the PHSA.

From left, doctoral student Jessica Ryan, Dr. Etienne Pracht and Brian Brijbag, president of the PHSA.

“There is no greater reward for a teacher than to receive an award from students,” Pracht said.

He also shared a few of his daily guiding principles.

“Try something new; get out of your comfort zone; just do something,” was one.

“Reflect on yourself; don’t be afraid to be critical,” was another.

And finally, “Just be nice.”