USF COPH grad focuses on health education to improve community health

| Academic & Student Affairs, Monday Letter, Our Alumni, Students, Undergraduate

More than half of all adults living in the United States suffer from some sort of chronic disease, and every four in ten adults in our country live with multiple chronic diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jessica Cambridge, who graduated from the USF College of Public Health in 2013, is addressing these issues by promoting health education within Miami communities in her role as a senior project coordinator at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

As the senior project coordinator, she participates in research studies and organizes community outreach and education. Throughout her professional career, these types of positions have given Cambridge the opportunity to work with local health departments and even allowed her to play a crucial role in improving community service and prevention efforts to combat HIV.

Cambridge said her path to becoming a public health professional and researching chronic conditions wasn’t always her dream, and her current position at the Miller School of Medicine is somewhat ironic considering she originally thought she would be a student in medical school rather than an employee there.

“After high school, I decided to major in pre-medicine and biology at USF because I wanted to pursue a career in medicine,” said Cambridge. “However, I decided to change my major to public health after realizing I have a passion for health education and helping people and communities improve their health.”

Cambridge has gotten the opportunity to publish research while also impacting her local community through her position at the Miller School of Medicine. (Photo courtesy of Jessica Cambridge)

From there, Cambridge said she experienced all that the COPH had to offer. Exciting Internships along with excellent faculty members and professors continued to ignite her passion for public health.

“The [COPH] provided me with an array of opportunities including a volunteer role with the Center for Equal Health and an internship at the University Area Community Development Center,” Cambridge said.

Cambridge’s USF experience has also continued to equip her with valuable skills that assisted in her being recognized by the Delta Epsilon Iota Honor Society for her academic achievement and contributed to several research papers that have already been published during her young career, including a new abstract that was selected by APHA to be presented this year.

“In my professional career, I frequently use the writing skills that I developed during my time [at the COPH],” Cambridge said. “The biostatistics and epidemiology classes that that I took at USF have proven to be very helpful in my research career as well.”

Cambridge has much more that she would like to accomplish as her career as a public health professional continues. In the future, she hopes to narrow her focus to one of the most deadly and prevalent chronic diseases that faces our population today.

“In the future, I see myself in a director position on a cancer research project,” she said. “I plan to publish several manuscripts and become lead principal investigator on a research grant.”

Fast Five:

What did you dream of becoming when you were young? A neurologist.

Where might we find you on the weekends? At the beach, traveling, or having brunch with friends.

What was the last book you read? “Serial Winner” by Larry Weidel.

What superpower would you like to have? Teleportation.

What is your all-time favorite movie? X-Men.

Story by Cody Brown, USF College of Public Health