Breena R. Taira, MD, MPH
Class of 2009
Please tell us about some of your activities since your graduation from the MPH program?
Since graduation I returned to the Emergency Department to finish my clinical training in Emergency Medicine. I continue to pursue my research in burn epidemiology and prevention and maintain the burn registry that I developed for Stony Brook University Medical Center. Working together with the Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Fund we are investigating the distribution of burn injuries in our area, the socioeconomic determinants of burn injury risk and ways to improve burn prevention initiatives. In addition, I remain involved in efforts to quantify and promote the need for emergency services in the developing world. Most recently this interest brought me to Nicaragua to explore possibilities for an academic exchange focused on emergency care. I am now affiliate faculty with the GPPH and have had the opportunity to mentor several students in a variety of different research projects in Burn and Global Health.
How has your MPH degree influenced your career?
My MPH has enabled me to understand the larger issues that influence the health of the individual patients I see clinically. I believe that Emergency Medicine and Public Health are a natural and complimentary combination. Emergency Physicians are on the front lines in terms of changing trends in our community’s health. With Public Health training I can take the next step and analyze and explore potential societal influences and factors that contribute to these trends and put this knowledge to use for the benefit of the community.
What advice would you give a new student just starting the program?
The advice I would give a new student is to take full advantage of every aspect of the MPH program. Both the faculty and your classmates have an extraordinarily wide variety of backgrounds and experiences that you can learn from. Also, use the freedom within the program to develop your niche within public health so that you graduate with not only the skill set to take on a public health problem but also extensive background knowledge in your area of interest. By graduation you will be fully prepared to enter the ranks of public health professionals and make a positive impact.
Posted spring 2011