Katherine Heiman is a 2009 Epidemiology MPH graduate.
Where are you currently employed and what is your position?
Surveillance Epidemiologist , National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
I focus on surveillance of and epidemiologic analyses of enteric pathogens, including Shigella and Shiga toxin-producingEscherichia coli, and investigate multistate clusters of Shigella and Listeria monocytogenes, and other enteric pathogens.
What about the Global Health concentration at UIC made its greatest impact on you?
The sense of community within the concentration and the global health student interest group. It was inspiring to learn from and work alongside others with such diverse experiences and interests.
What advice would you give to current global health students?
Take advantage of every opportunity presented to you, and use your time in graduate school to explore all your interests.
Katherine was the recipient of a Douglas Passaro Global Horizons Scholarship. She completed her practicum in 2008 with Concern America, in Guatemala. Katherine traveled to different sites to learn about aspects of health in rural populations, including access to care, treatment of and surveillance of infectious diseases.
In what way did this experience enhance or change your career goals?
My Passaro experience in Guatemala ignited my interest in global health and laid the foundation for other global health projects I undertook while in school. I hope to be more directly involved in global health in the future.
What was the most valuable thing you learned through your work funded by the Passaro award?
An appreciation for the complex issue of access to affordable health care and treatment.
How did this experience prepare you for work in public health?
Working in the field and learning about Guatemala’s health systems firsthand provided an understanding and knowledge that is difficult to obtain in the classroom. I learned a lot of practical lessons, about challenges and successes in implementing community-based health programs in a low resource environment. Through conversations with persons in different indigenous populations, I also learned about the civil conflict and its indirect and direct impact on health. I feel that these broader social economic issues are relevant to all aspects of public health.
How did your perspectives or worldview change as a result of this experience?
My time in Guatemala shifted my thinking about health in general, and gave me a better understanding of some of the complex challenges and vast disparities that exist at home and abroad.