MPH student Vishal Panchigar elected to FPHA

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Vishal Panchigar, a second-year USF College of Public Health (COPH) MPH student, has been elected to a member-at-large position with the Florida Public Health Association (FPHA).

The FPHA serves Florida’s public health professionals and students through advocacy, professional development and networking to improve Florida’s health. Panchigar, who is concentrating in health care organizations and management, will serve a three-year term.

“It is an honor and a privilege to have been elected to this position and to serve as the sole student voice on the board for all the state’s colleges of public health,” said Panchigar. “I look forward to working alongside the FPHA board in creating even more career, internship and volunteering opportunities for current students interested in public health, healthcare administration and related fields.”

Vishal Panchigar (Photo courtesy of Panchigar)

Acknowledging that it will be a challenge networking and exchanging ideas in this era of social distancing, Panchigar is still optimistic he can help create a “platform” that will enable both undergraduate and graduate public health students advance the interests of those working in the field of health services. “This platform will model how the next generation of individuals will be able to network in both a virtual and a face-to-face environment,” he said.

Panchigar is also president of the COPH’s Healthcare Management Student Association (HMSA). HMSA provides students interested in health services administration with opportunities to enhance their knowledge of effective leadership skills in health care organizations and to develop their professional networks within the health care community.

“HMSA has taken a proactive approach in enhancing the student experience by moving all events to a virtual environment,” said Panchigar. “This has allowed HMSA to secure a diverse guest speaker list composed of alumni and professionals in health administration and public health from around the nation. HMSA has also partnered with Dr. Anna Armstrong’s BullPEN series and USF Health’s Shared Student Services to create and promote a wide variety of professional development content to an even greater audience across all colleges in USF Health.”

Panchigar (bottom, center) with other members of the HMSA board during a recent event-planning video conference. (Photo courtesy of Panchigar)

Some events/projects on tap for HMSA this academic year include:

  • A continuation of its partnership with Tampa Bay Technical High School’s Health Administration Academy, mentoring students interested in health administration or public health careers.
  • A Peer/Protégé Development Program, which helps first-year MHA and MPH students, and anyone new to the COPH, develop relationships that will help them adjust to the graduate student life.
  • A strengthening of the Alumni/Professional Mentor Program for MHA and MPH students.

“Our aim is to create a dynamic virtual environment,” Panchigar commented. “We believe these initiatives will help students enjoy their graduate student experience while gaining insight from a variety of guest speakers and professional development events, all while being able to network among peers, professors and professionals.”

Story by Donna Campisano, USF College of Public Health