::Practice Plunge 2011:: New Places, New Faces!



I cannot believe it has been a year since I started the HBHE program here at UMSPH! What a whirlwind.. About one year ago, I went on my first Practice Plunge and here I was again, taking “the plunge” with the newbies to SPH, except this time around I was a little less nervous!

Last year, I had such a blast visiting the Washtenaw County Public Health Department during which we heard about the all the different aspects of the local health department and Growing Hope where we got our hands dirty and learned more about their mission in creating a community garden and promoting healthy eating, community engagement, and positive socioeconomic change.

Practice Plunge 2010 at Growing Hope, Ypsilanti

This year, there were five sites that the students were assigned to in Washtenaw, Oakland, Wayne, and Genesee counties. I went along with the Detroit area project and my group visited the Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion (DHWP) and Catherine Ferguson Academy for Young Women. DHWP gave us the background of the programs offered within the city of Detroit and we saw a number of alumni (many of who had internships through the Office of Public Health Practice while at SPH)! At Catherine Ferguson Academy, we learned about the urban organic farming component of the students’ education, beyond the life skills and college prep training. The women who go to Catherine Ferguson are pregnant and parenting teenagers and must be accepted into a two or four-year program upon graduation from this public high school. To learn more about Catherine Ferguson Academy – you can see the documentary, “Grown in Detroit” – it’s on my On Demand list! 🙂

Similar to my experience last year, I learned a great deal about working in the field of public health and met a bunch of wonderful people! I asked a few of the newbies questions and thought I would introduce you to them! I asked what words they used to describe citizenship (the theme of the 1st year orientation), why they chose UMSPH, and what the most memorable moment of the Practice Plunge day was.

Brian Frey, HMP


1-2 words you used to describe citizenship: Community responsibility

Why @ SPH: Throughout my early career I have had the opportunity to work with many UMSPH Alumni whose values, knowledge, work ethic, and encouragement have pushed me to desire educational excellence.  UMSPH is, and has traditionally been, a leader in health care, so the decision was an easy one for me.  Besides, I am a Wolverine for life!

Most memorable moment of Practice Plunge: The best part of the Practice Plunge was getting the opportunity to work side by side with students and professors from other programs that I may see on a daily basis.  It was also great to see a side of Detroit that even I was not familiar with.

Hayley Getzen, HBHE


1-2 words you used to describe citizenship: Community & collaboration

Why @ SPH: I chose UMSPH because of the wide variety of courses offered and all of the different directions I could go within my degree. After I went to the Admitted Students Day, I knew I wanted to go to UofM because the faculty and staff were all so welcoming and knowledgeable. I just knew I would have a lot of great opportunities at UMSPH!

Most memorable moment of Practice Plunge: The Practice Plunge was a great opportunity for new students to witness how local health departments are run and experience the fundamentals of public health. My favorite part of the day was how thankful the employees of the farm were when we were finished in the garden. They were so appreciative and it was cool that all of us could come together and accomplish so much in so little time. It was nice to meet so many new people as well!

Bri Meek, EHS


1-2 words you used to describe citizenship: Be the change.

Why @ SPH: Because Danielle (friend & family member who graduated from HBHE last year) said it was awesome, because of its global outreach, and last but not least, the vast amount of study and research opportunity.

Most memorable moment of Practice Plunge: Shoveling chicken feces with my professor!

Josh Havumaki, EPID


1-2 words you used to describe citizenship: Community & identity

Why @ SPH: UMSPH has a great deal infectious disease and epidemiological modeling research something I have worked on in the past. Also, Michigan has a strong Southeast Asian studies department – I hope to do my internship in that part of the world.

Most memorable moment of Practice Plunge: Speaking to the local farmer who runs a community garden in inner-city Detroit. This emphasized that impact and change can be made from the community level.

Stacey Lee, HMP

1-2 words you used to describe citizenship: Equality & proactive

Why @ SPH: The faculty met at my interview for the HMP program were warm and committed to both my education and the field of public health.

Most memorable moment of Practice Plunge: Harvesting tomatoes with my fellow SPHers



Thanks everyone – It was wonderful working and speaking with all of you!

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