Student view:

Megan Mulvaney: Improving the health of communities in need

March 2, 2020

Megan Mulvaney is a graduate student in the MSU Master of Public Health program. She is enrolled in the Community Engaged Scholarship program and the Gender, Justice and Environmental Change program. She recently earned an honorable mention as a Student Who Rocked Public Health by the "Journal of Public Health Management and Practice."

To me, being a Spartan means that I can count on receiving academic and professional support as part of a larger community.

Since I chose MSU for my Master of Public Health degree, I have had so many opportunities to learn and grow. One of the reasons I’ve thrived in this program is because I’ve been encouraged to do so, whether I was working on an independent research project on LGBTQ+ substance use treatment with Robert Glandon or taking coursework outside the department such as a class from my Gender, Justice and Environmental Change specialization.

Pursuing a public health degree is meaningful work, especially because it allows me to give to 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 LGBTQ+ health disparities; as someone who is sober, I can work on research and interventions that benefit people struggling with substance use.

I have shaped my capstone project around these community experiences. 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.

Earning an honorable mention as a Student Who Rocked Public Health from the “Journal of Public Health Management and Practice” is an accomplishment that motivates me to do more for this university, society and public health.

Besides rocking the world of public health, my proudest professional accomplishment is serving 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 LGBTQ+ individuals and people of color outside of academia in research and health activism.

It was inspiring to work with different professionals who came from a wide range of fields and various institutions as we planned this event.

This project was a great way for me to combine what I've learned about population health in the Master of Public Health program and what I've learned about community engagement through the Community Engaged Scholarship certificate program at MSU.

This story has been edited and repurposed from the MSU Division of Public Health in the College of Human Medicine. The original story can be found here.