Paige Hammond ties together passions for education and better health

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Recent honoree of the Society of Public Health Educators’ “30 under 30,” which shines the spotlight on 30 health educators under the age of 30, Paige Hammond is certainly an up-and-comer in public health education.

Hammond has a long list of dream jobs, from diabetes educator to wedding or event planner, but knows that no matter where she ends up, she just wants to be a benefit to the community.

Paige Hammond

“Whatever job I find my way to, I want to make sure to make a positive impact in peoples’ lives,” she said.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in community health education from the University of Maine, Hammond came to the University of South Florida for an opportunity to work with populations outside of her home state. Originally from Bangor, Maine, she is working toward her MPH degree with a concentration in public health education from the College of Public Health, and graduates with her master’s degree in the spring of 2015.

“I knew that I wanted to go to graduate school somewhere that could give me a different experience,” she said. “COPH offered what I was looking for, and I have had a great experience here.”

Hammond’s public health passion, creating and supporting the health of communities, is reflected in most aspects of her life. She believes that education and knowledge are key aspects in improving the overall health of the population.

Paige Hammond, one of SOPHE’s 2014 National Health Education Week 30 Under 30,
shares how she will impact the future of health education. #NHEW2014

“What interests me most about public health is the prevention aspects,” said Hammond. “I think it is important to work with all populations, of all ages, and to help educate and share knowledge so that we can all live the healthiest.”

Hammond is president of Eta Sigma Gamma, the National Health Education Honorary Organization on campus, and is a member of the Society of Public Health Educators at the national level.

She is also a teaching assistant for the undergraduate course “Survey of Human Diseases” and works as a student research assistant with Bringing Home Science, a COPH partnership with the Patterson foundation, working with type 1 diabetes research. Hammond has a very personal stake in the team’s research, being a diabetic herself.

“As a type 1 diabetic, if I could have one wish, it would be to find a cure for diabetes,” she said. “I know many people living with the disease, and although management care has grown leaps and bounds over the last century, to wake up and find out there is a cure would be a great day for many!”

Her volunteer activities and outside certifications are geared toward education and helping others attain their best health possible. Hammond volunteers as an American Red Cross first aid and CPR instructor and holds multiple fitness instruction certifications, which she hopes to be able to tie into her public health career after graduation.

“I would say that during my time here at the USF COPH, I have learned a lot about myself,” Hammond said, “not just as a graduate student, but as an eager professional, too.”

Hammond credits the COPH for connecting her with like-minded peers and professors, and for helping to further her passion for better health and education. Armed with a wealth of knowledge and inclination for education, Hammond is certainly a force to be reckoned with in the public health realm.

Story by Shelby Bourgeois, College of Public Health writing intern. Photo by Natalie D. Preston.