Alumni Highlight: Sarena Dacus
Hometown: Omaha, NE
Year graduated from our program: 2013
Degree and concentration: MPH, Community Health Education
Current career position: I currently serve as the Executive Director of FAMILY, Inc. A non-profit organization providing public health and family support services to women, children and families in Southwest Iowa. We have the ability to administer our program in a manner that allows for in-depth care coordination throughout the critical early years of child development and beyond.
After beginning my public health career in education and training, then spending time in program administration, FAMILY has allowed for a blend of many aspects of the public health training I received at the College of Public Health. Having the opportunity to directly serve families as well as lead and train an emerging public health workforce is extremely rewarding.
What do you value most about your time in our program? The program provided an opportunity to build connections that have proven to be invaluable throughout my career. Lifelong connections were made with faculty, staff, and colleagues–many of whom still provide mentorship and guidance when I come across challenges and who are also there to help celebrate my successes.
Advice for current students: Explore! The field of public health is in constant evolution. Take time while you are in the program to experience the many facets that encompass public health. Step outside of your comfort zone and seek opportunities you may initially think are beyond your interests. You will be surprised at what you learn about yourself in these unexpected situations. This will also adequately prepare you for the public health workforce as you will sure enough be placed in unexpected and challenging situations throughout your career.