Recently earning honorable mention as a Student Who Rocked Public Health by the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, Megan Mulvaney is an emerging leader in public health. Learn more about what motivates her in this Q&A.
January 3, 2020
Megan Mulvaney is a driven Michigan State University Master of Public Health student enrolled in the Community Engaged Scholarship program and the Gender, Justice and Environmental Change program. She serves as an English second language tutor, an LGBT employee resource group co-chair for a national healthcare employer, and a council member for the Detroit Healthlink Cancer Action Council.
Recently earning honorable mention as a Student Who Rocked Public Health by the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, Mulvaney is an emerging leader in public health.
Karen Weissert, an academic advisor for the MSU College of Human Medicine’s Master of Public Health program, states, “Megan is truly an outstanding student who goes above and beyond her role as a Master of Public Health student. It has been an absolute pleasure to have her as my advisee.”
Additional highlights of Mulvaney’s accomplishments include serving as a peer reviewer for the journal Substance Abuse, helping on the planning committee for Wayne State University’s national Community-Engaged Research (CEnR) Symposium, and serving as an organizational policy consultant for a behavioral health practice designed for and by underserved populations.
With such a long list of accomplishments, we had to know more about what motivates Megan Mulvaney.
Q: Why are you pursuing a public health degree?
A: There are a lot of opportunities to work with communities I belong to. As a Detroit resident, I can help improve health for my neighbors; as a part of the queer community, I can work to address LGBT+ health disparities; as someone who is sober, I can work on research and interventions that benefit people struggling with substance use.
Q: Why did you choose Michigan State University?
A: I chose Michigan State for my MPH degree because I knew I would not be sacrificing academic quality for the convenience of an online program. I felt confident that I would be challenged in the program and would experience all the benefits of an MSU education that any on-site graduate student would also have.
Q: What does being a Michigan State Spartan mean to you?
A: It means that I can count on receiving academic and professional support and being part of a larger community. One of the reasons I've thrived in this program is because I've been allowed and encouraged to do so, whether I was working on an independent research project on LGBT+ substance use treatment with Dr. Robert Glandon or taking coursework outside the department, using a course from the Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change graduate specialization as one of my electives.
Q: What is the topic of your public health Capstone project?
A: I plan to examine HIV status exclusions in non-HIV-associated cancer clinical trials, looking at whether clinical trial exclusions for HIV+ individuals are justified by modern evidence. When we consider the high cancer burden that people living with HIV experience, researchers have a duty to make sure that people living with HIV are being served by current and emerging science, and not being arbitrarily denied access to treatment that could improve their health and their lives.
Q: What professional or educational accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: I served on the planning committee for Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University's 2019 Community-Engaged Research symposium, a national conference that focused on engaging LGBT+ individuals and people of color outside of academia in research and health activism. It was an honor to work with a diverse group of professionals who came from multiple academic fields, numerous institutions, and various perspectives as we planned this event. It was an excellent way for me to combine what I've learned about population health within the MPH program and what I've learned about community engagement as part of the Community Engaged Scholarship certificate program through MSU.
Q: What has been the most memorable moment of your practicum experience thus far?
A: I completed my practicum at WorkIt Health, an Ann Arbor-based addiction treatment startup that offers Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid or alcohol addiction, in addition to behavioral coaching and group therapy, to any Michigan, California or New Jersey resident through telehealth. It's a treatment model that addresses each state's provider shortages and geographic barriers to addiction treatment, particularly for rural residents, in a unique way. My work focused on their California and New Jersey locations. It was always memorable to read feedback from clients about the program, to hear that they were receiving a service they couldn't access any other way, or were experiencing less stigma in treatment than they had in the past.
Q: What was one thing you learned about yourself during the practicum experience?
A: One of my goals for the practicum experience involved developing public communications. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed writing blogs for my practicum site. It was a totally different experience from other types of writing I had done before, with a different audience and a different tone than the academic writing I’ve done before. It gave me room to think and write about things I’m interested in in new ways.
Check out Mulvaney’s Workin’ It: Workit Health’s Blog stories on a variety of topics for living your best life sober.