Summer Greetings

Danielle Lepar

Danielle Lepar

Hello all! I’m Danielle, the latest addition to the team of SPH bloggers.  I’m currently between my first and second years of pursuing my MPH in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education (HBHE).  Since it’s already June and summer seems to be going full-swing (where does time go?!?), I am currently doing my internship and will be reporting to you from the Center for Managing Chronic Disease (CMCD). My experience at CMCD, and SPH more generally, has been really exciting so far. However, I can’t say that I knew exactly what I was getting myself into when I started my journey into the world of public health.

As an undergrad, I majored in Chemistry at the Colorado College in Colorado Springs.  Despite being a bit of a lab-safety hazard, I did three years of natural products chemistry research. In other words, I was trying to recreate compounds in the lab that are originally found in nature and demonstrate medicinal promise. For example, you may know about the drug, Taxol.  It’s found in the bark of the Pacific Yew tree and is synthetically reproduced to treat breast and other forms of cancer.

While I was really excited about the prospect of improving health outcomes through natural science research, I was discouraged that my work had a slim possibility of realizing some health-related benefit.  Even if it did have therapeutic potential, it would be very far down the road. On top of that, I wanted to break free from the bench and actually interact with people!  And what about preventing disease?

After departing from my chemistry life and a year of exploring the psychosocial dimensions of health, I’m putting my new knowledge to the test. This summer I’ve been working on designing the curricula for a web-based, self-management intervention for women with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Phew, that’s a mouthful! During the summer months, I’ll keep you posted on my project, other topics related to the Center for Managing Chronic Disease, and tidbits from my experience as a student in general.

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