Interprofessional Spotlights

Previous Spotlights

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Previous Spotlights

Public Health Advocacy Student Alliance (PHASA)

The Public Health Advocacy Student Alliance (PHASA) is a student organization within CHIP at the U of M that aims to cultivate a community of (future) healthcare professionals who are passionate and equipped to address health disparities across Minnesota. Following its mission's two pillars, PHASA provides events throughout the year that promote educational training that civically engages students and opportunities for hands-on advocacy within the community.

Interprofessional Student Parent Community (ISPC)

Families associated with ISPC on the ice at Mariucci Arena

Tell us about ISPC? 
The ISPC (Interprofessional Student Parent Community) provides targeted programming to meet the unique needs of health professional students who balance their studies with their role as parents. The ISPC fosters an environment where student-parents support each other throughout their tenure at the University of Minnesota. The ISPC staff, in addition to supporting student-student connections and fostering a supportive environment, will work to bridge gaps between the student community and broader community resources such that our student-parents can remain focused on their families and studies. Aiding to fulfill these goals, the ISPC hosts family-friendly events, community building opportunities, online resource sharing and more.

What was your favorite event or activity in this group this year? 
It’s hard to choose a favorite! We had a wonderful time cheering on the UMN women’s hockey team in January, and we are looking forward to exploring the Bell Museum in early April. We enjoy showing parenting students all the fun activities they can do with their families on campus!

What is one thing you’re proud of or that your group accomplished so far this year?
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our ISPC Advisory Board student leaders, we have been able to significantly increase our family programming this year! We’re also excited about our new newsletter feature for spring semester, which highlights one of our parenting students and their personal story in each edition.

What’s one interesting thing that most people don’t know about your group?
The ISPC was established due to the advocacy of students within the medical school who sought targeted programmatic support for parenting health professional students. Now an official program within the CHIP office, student voice continues to be central to the work of the ISPC. Parenting students can take on a leadership role through the ISPC Advisory Board, a campus life program that advises ISPC staff on programming that would be beneficial for parenting health science students.

How do students get involved in your group?
Students can email the ISPC ([email protected]) to request to be added to our email list. From there, they will receive our biweekly newsletter and invitations to our monthly lunches and family events. Any parenting or family-support related questions can also be submitted by email, and ISPC staff will connect with students to assist with resources.

Lynna Ngo, Medical School | IP Student Program Assistant

Chenwei Yan, PharmD/MPH

Sandra Shahriar, College of Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering PhD

Sandra Shahriar

Why did you choose the U and your program? 
I was drawn to the U for several reasons. The Twin Cities are a huge hub of biomedical engineering companies, which gives me a lot of networking opportunities, so that was a big draw. But more so than the cities themselves, I also just love the culture of my department and the sense of community and collaboration all around the U – it makes me feel right at home and helps abate the stress of grad school.

What is something you wished you knew before you started your program? 
I wish I had known that old habits of procrastination die hard, and that having good time management doesn’t magically happen as you get older. I’ve improved a bit now, but making small changes earlier would have helped a lot.

What resource or service has been essential to your academic success? 
The mental health services at Boynton have been a great part of my journey to overcoming perfectionism and academic anxiety. I’m incredibly grateful that the culture of the school is very open to talking about mental health struggles and erasing the stigma of seeking help when it’s needed.

What are your career goals after finishing your degree? 
After I graduate, I plan to go into industry working in research and development of biomaterials to improve drug delivery.

What is your favorite place on campus and why? 
It’s hard to pick one specific favorite spot, but I love the Knoll, which is the green space by Folwell Hall. It is lovely to walk through and decompress when I need a short break during the day.

Laura Dammer Hess, Director, CHIP

What activities at CHIP do you support?
As Director of CHIP, I’m lucky to be involved in most of what we do. I’m often most involved in the ongoing development of some of our larger programs like BeWELL, CLARION and the Health Professional Student Leadership Conference.  I’m also involved in program design of new initiatives-- for example, CHIP is currently involved in the collaborative Community Arts @Health Sciences initiative.  What I love most about my job is seeing student ideas come to life with support, guidance and space to create together--whether that takes the shape of a big event, a new student organization, an advocacy project, or another opportunity.

What drew you to the University of Minnesota?
I came to the U as a first-year college student in 2000. So I’m thinking less about what drew me here and more about why I’ve stayed for so long! What I’ve loved about learning and working at the U is that there are always new opportunities for growth--both for me as a professional and for the students and colleagues that I work with.  I’ve been able to study in several disciplines, meet and work with students, staff and faculty with different talents and passions, and develop great relationships.  It is sometimes hard to find your place in such a big university, but I’m lucky to have found many opportunities to connect with others around common goals that truly inspire and challenge us.  I hope that CHIP provides that opportunity for connection for health science students.

What is something you wish you knew before starting your career?
As a creative person, I have a wide range of interests. Working in academia, it can sometimes seem like you need to have one area of expertise. That works great for some people, but it doesn’t fit with the way my brain works.  A while back I was teaching a class where we used this poem to reflect on the concept of vocation.  It was an “aha moment” for me. It taught me that I can identify my passions and purpose as threads in my career, and those can serve as the foundation for the ways I can contribute to others-- through whatever position I may be in.  I started identifying the threads that were really important to me and have since sought out opportunities connected to those threads.

What drew you to CHIP/How did you hear about CHIP/Why did you want to become engaged with CHIP?
One of the “threads” in my career has been community-based, experiential education. Both as a teacher and a learner, these have always been the most impactful learning experiences for me.  I am very interested in healthcare and health education as a patient and a parent, but I’m not/will not be a health professional myself. When I saw the opportunity to work with CHIP, I was able to see how my skills and experience in cultivating community and designing experiential learning opportunities could be of benefit to health science students and health science education at the U.

CHIP is a really unique place ---the fact that it was created by students and continues to center student interests and relationships is truly exceptional--these student-led spaces are hard to find, nationally. I find it very rewarding to be part of shaping the experience of future health professionals in such a unique environment.

What is your favorite place on campus and why?
I love the Interprofessional Student Garden!  It has been such a joy to watch that space come to life over the last few years.  When I am in the garden, I feel so grateful to the students, community members, faculty and staff who made it happen and keep it growing.  And it is just a beautiful place to sit, take a break, and collect some basil.  

Annie Lemieux, Public Health Administration and Policy

Annie Lemieux

Year: 
Second Year

School/Program: 
MPH Public Health Administration and Policy

Why did you choose the U and your program? 
I grew up in Minnesota before attending college out of state. I knew that I wanted to return home for my MPH and learn how to make a difference in the communities that shaped me into who I am today. I was incredibly lucky that the U has such a wonderful MPH program and feel fortunate to benefit from learning about public health from my professors and peers.

What is something you wished you knew before you started your program? 
All of the leadership and interprofessional opportunities that exist on campus. I have enjoyed being a part of CLARION, the Phillips Neighborhood Clinic, the Youth Health and Housing Lab, and the School of Public Health Student Senate. These experiences have allowed me to collaborate with students outside of my program and gain new perspectives on healthcare. 

What resource or service has been essential to your academic success? 
My amazing cohort! I am fortunate to have peers that care about my success alongside their own. Learning from them has been the highlight of my academic experience thus far and they encourage and support me in all of my public health and leadership endeavors. 

What are your career goals after finishing your degree? 
I chose to enter the public health field to learn how to make actionable changes to the healthcare system at the state and local level reflecting my core belief that healthcare is a human right. I hope to continue working in the public health policy field at the county or state level advocating for and supporting policies that reflect this core belief. 

What is your favorite place on campus and why? 
I love reserving a study room in HSEC with a window overlooking the courtyard! It’s the best spot to study and watch the campus turkeys roam. 

Josh Aune, Master of Healthcare Administration

Josh Aune

Year: 
Class of 2024 (2nd year)

School/Program: 
Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)

Why did you choose the U and your program? 
I chose the U for the high-quality education and access to an incredible alumni network. Meeting leaders across the country leading a variety of healthcare organizations has been an invaluable experience to learn and apply the lessons from the classroom to work that is occurring in the real world.

What is something you wished you knew before you started your program? 
One thing I wished I knew before starting the program was how tremendous the faculty are within the School of Public Health. I realized that we would be learning from professors at the top of their field, yet faculty have gone above and beyond in a multitude of ways. From taking the time to meet 1:1 to go over lessons, answering questions related to current events, and even sharing their networks with us and helping us develop our professional skills, I am very grateful for the opportunity to learn from such incredible people.

What resource or service has been essential to your academic success? 
The faculty members and alumni network. Both are more than willing to lend a hand with course content or professional development when reaching out. I would also shout out the fantastic recreational opportunities on and around campus. Having the opportunity to hit the reset button and clear the mind has been essential to starting each day fresh and finding success both in and outside of the classroom.

What are your career goals after finishing your degree? 
After finishing the MHA program, I would like to pursue work in a rural healthcare setting, with the goal of leading a rural hospital someday. Coming from a rural area myself, I would love to serve a rural community and work to increase access to healthcare services and provide better health for all.

What is your favorite place on campus and why? 
HSEC! There are so many niche areas to study or do homework, and we have many classes in that space. 

Kitty Lu, Physical Therapy

Kitty Lu

Year:  
Class of 2025 (2nd year)

School/Program:  
Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

Why did you choose the U and your program?  
I used to think that I would always stay in Los Angeles with my family, but a spring break trip to Ireland with my rugby team changed my mind. As much as I love my family, I knew there were places that I hadn’t explored. When my girlfriend was accepted to the UMN law program, we decided to make the move out here. I worked here in Minneapolis during my gap year and just fell in love with all the seasons (yes even winter). I've known I wanted to be a physical therapist since high school. Specifically with the UMN DPT program, I found a program that gave me a wide variety of career opportunities. Being a big research institution, I knew that I would be able to explore my varying interests and discover new ones.

What is something you wished you knew before you started your program?  
There’s nothing really serious that I wish I had known before I started, except maybe just reminding myself that everything will work out. I still work on telling myself not to get so worked up about little things that I don’t even remember now, like what to wear on my first day. I do wish I knew more coffee shops or study places. I am slowly visiting them, but I would love more recommendations.

What resource or service has been essential to your academic success?  
Our embedded counselor has been crucial to my academic success. I made the not-so-wise decision to not see her during this past spring semester, and I would safely call that my most emotionally drained semester. One thing I think most students can agree on is that when we’re in the thick of it, we know we’re stressed, but we don’t always have the best tools to handle our stress. Then when the exam or stress is over, we realize how much stress we were holding. Having someone to share that with, even if they might not be able to fix everything, could just take a little piece of the stress off you. 

What are your career goals after finishing your degree?  
To be honest, I don’t know for sure. I’m pretty certain that I want to work in a hospital once I graduate, but I am still discovering if there's a PT specialty for me. I am a recreational rugby player, and I’d love to work with recreational athletes and help them continue to have fun with their sports.

What is your favorite place on campus and why?  
My favorite place on campus is the bridge over the Mississippi that connects West Bank and East Bank. I bike over it every day for class and it always reminds me to just take a few deep breaths before the craziness of classes.