“USF gave me the tools to get a successful start in my public health career,” said USF College of Public Health alumnus Bradley Biggers.
Even though he originally planned to go into a career in psychology, Biggers said he changed his mind after working at a crisis helpline in Tallahassee. The agency he worked at also answered calls on public health topics including maternal health, child health, HIV, cervical cancer and substance abuse.
“I discovered that I liked those topics much better,” Biggers said.
He ended up choosing USF’s College of Public Health, he said, because as a Florida resident, USF offered the best program with the most affordable tuition.
“I wasn’t disappointed,” he said.
During his time at COPH, Biggers was secretary of the Student Global AIDS Campaign and was on the planning committee for an Rx for Survival event.
At COPH, Biggers said he was inspired by guest speakers such as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Dr. Paul Farmer and Dr. Jared Diamond.
“I was very fortunate to be able to attend their talks,” he said.
And now, when he looks back on his time at COPH, Biggers remembers instructors who were good at engaging and challenging their students and the wide range of interesting and useful courses offered.
During his time at USF, Biggers was a Master’s International Peace Corps student, which means his field experience and special project were supposed to be completed while serving in the Peace Corps.
He was placed in Kenya in 2007, but he and other volunteers were unexpectedly evacuated be cause of political unrest in January 2008.
Despite the change of plans, Biggers was still able to put together a photo-documentary of his time in the Peace Corps. He graduated in May 2008.
After earning his MPH, Biggers worked as a health data analyst for the Gaston County Health Department in North Carolina until 2012. For the past three years, he worked as a Public Health Informatics Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As a part of the Public Health Informatics Fellowship Program, Biggers was matched with the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, where he worked on redesigning information systems and reviewing documents for clearance, among other things.
When he’s not dealing with health informatics, Biggers is spending time with his 5-year-old daughter at the zoo or the aquarium, or he’s tinkering with anything mechanical or computer-related.
Looking ahead, he has recently accepted a job offer as a geographer for the CDC Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response.
Beginning this new position at the end of June, Biggers will be using special software to create maps to support the Ebola response efforts in Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Story by Annamarie Koehler-Shepley, College of Public Health. Photos courtesy of Bradley Biggers.