Alumni Highlight: Tai Hoang, MPH (Environment, Agricultural and Occupational Health, 2016)
Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska
Current career position: I have the great honor to serve my country in the United States Air Force while also utilizing my skill sets of healthcare and science. As a public health officer in the United States Air Force, I am responsible for an array of public health components, such as communicable diseases and occupational and environmental health. In order to maintain the health of our airmen, some of my responsibilities are to direct food safety and public facility sanitization programs, carefully track disease trends, and identify public health issues. Additionally, I am responsible for preventing and controlling the spread of diseases through disease surveillance, disease monitoring, patient health education, and preventive health assessments for active military members. Due to the broad variety of my work, the tasks often change on a daily basis. The opportunity to practice public health brings me satisfaction and joy, but more importantly, it is paramount knowing that I am pursuing a cause bigger than myself, by serving my country as a public health professional.
The most valued aspect about my MPH program: I valued the opportunities to participate in leadership roles and to interact with a diverse group of students at UNMC College of Public Health (COPH). For instance, my participation in the COPH Student Association (SA) provided opportunities to organize student events throughout the year. Events like the National Public Health Week provided a wide variety of activities that brought students, faculty, and staff together to celebrate the work of public health. Partaking in multiple medical service trips to Nicaragua imparted my learning experience for health care in a foreign country and broadened my scope of practice in public health. These opportunities allowed me to work within a cohesive team of multidisciplinary individuals to provide medical service to Nicaraguan citizens.
Interaction with a diverse group of colleagues created a memorable learning experience during my program. This environment encouraged meaningful and engaging conversations within the academic setting. I did not have to go far to meet and interact with students from many walks of life such as students from India, Haiti, Mexico, and Nepal.
Advice for current students: One of the most inspiring aspects of the Air Force are the core values: Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do. I encourage students to practice these core values in everyday life, particularly in commitment to service. As I reflect on my educational career and challenges in daily life, focusing on service is the key to success and happiness. Whether it is in volunteering, career-related, or a capstone project, always have a mindset of service. Having this intention will yield good work and satisfaction during the process. Remember that there is no limitation to what one can give with the intention to serve. COPH provides opportunities and resources for leadership roles, volunteer, and internships. Stay involved! Seek out something that fits your schedule. Lastly, always strive for excellence, even in the smallest form, by doing the best that you possibly can. By the time you complete your program, you will look back and smile at your accomplishments, knowing you gave it all that you could. Enjoy your program and good luck!