Joshua Lorenzo works to protect patient rights and investigate disease

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Joshua Lorenzo has always felt drawn to infectious disease research, although if you had asked him at age 7, he would have said he was destined for the NBA.

“I’ve always had a genuine interest,” said Lorenzo.  “I was fascinated with the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the early 1980s.  I was too young at the time to be impacted directly but was interested in the social and political ramifications that resulted from the early days of the epidemic.”

The Maryland native completed his master of public health online through the USF College of Public Health and now works as a clinical protocol coordinator with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Institutional Review Board.  There, Lorenzo can put both his practice and passion to work helping investigators understand the mechanisms of infectious diseases and protecting the rights of human subjects in disease research.

When Lorenzo first saw USF’s sprawling campus, he was working with the National Cancer Institute at Moffitt Cancer Center.

“I took part in a site audit for a National Lung Cancer Screening study and fell in love,” said Lorenzo.  “I decided to apply the following semester.”

Josh Lorenzo and family

Josh Lorenzo pictured with wife Stacey, daughter Abby and son Jackson.

Family played a huge role in his educational success.  Lorenzo credits his wife, Stacey, for providing him with endless support during his educational journey.  As a father of two working full-time, peaceful opportunities to study were hard to come by, but thanks to his wife “bravely taking the kids to the park every day,” Lorenzo was able to devote hours every weekend to his textbooks.

“She inspired me to pursue my MPH at USF in the first place,” he said.

Stacey also works in the public health field, for the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the NCI.  When Lorenzo isn’t spending time with his wife and children or “honing his sarcasm,” he enjoys photography and exploring new places.

Although being an online student presented its fair share of challenges, Lorenzo considers the time he spent with USF the “best three years of [his] educational career.”  The COPH online MPH program allowed him to balance his work, his family and his educational pursuits.

Josh Lorenzo proudly represents the USF Bulls (see lanyard) in his NIAID office.

Josh Lorenzo proudly represents the USF Bulls (see lanyard) in his NIAID office.

“I learned so many things and met so many interesting people,” said Lorenzo.  “I met amazing professors, staff and students along the way.  Somer Goad Burke was so patient and willing to answer my questions, and Natalie Preston was also a great resource!”

However, one major standout during his time with the COPH was Professor Amy Borenstein, his favorite professor.

“Professor Borenstein was amazing,” Lorenzo said.  “I learned so much in epidemiology and appreciated her desire to teach.”

Lorenzo may have completed his MPH, but he is not yet finished with USF.  The education he received and the relationships he built with students and staff during his time as a student will last his entire life, he said.

“I am forever indebted to the campus, to the teachers and to the students,” said Lorenzo.  “I am a Bull, and I am happy about that every day of my life!”

Story by Shelby Bourgeois, College of Public Health writing intern. Photos courtesy of Josh Lorenzo.