My name is Tanya Taveras and I’m very excited to share my experiences and perspectives during my time in Ann Arbor. I’m an international first-year student from the Dominican Republic (DR), and I’m very happy and proud to have started the Health Management and Policy program at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, a top-ranked program in the United States.
I’ve already learned so much during the first two months of classes; my frontier of knowledge has already expanded significantly and this is just the beginning! It is such a powerful feeling to know that I’m acquiring strong skills that will influence and define my career in the years to come. My classmates come from very diverse backgrounds, which makes discussions even more interesting and enriching. We’ve already tackled public health issues from the perspective of different professionals such as doctors, economists, lawyers and public health specialists who share their amazing work and school experiences in class.
So, how did we all get here? Everyone has different stories but there is one thing we all have in common: a true passion for public health and a clear vision of long-term goals. When I was going through the rigorous application process, I realized it requires much hard work so that applicants can be sure their passion is greater than all the efforts and sacrifices made. Overcoming this initial barrier will allow you to realize that following your passion will have high returns. Moreover, I’ve learned that there’s no straight line to success. There’s no preset road; you make your own path as you walk along the way, discovering new interests and priorities. It’s an ongoing learning process and only those who are brave enough to leave the comfort zone are able to reach higher.
One of my aspirations is to be able to contribute my knowledge to improve the efficiency of DR’s health system where –according to World Bank data in 2012– almost half the population remains without health insurance and the poor are left to the mercy of an inefficient public health system with one of the lowest government health expenditures as a percent of GDP in Latin America. I’m aware it’s not an easy task, but I already started to take the steps towards achieving my goal.