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Minute with a Member

February 2015

National Alumni Society Member

charles at workName: Charles Collins

Degree: Ph.D. in Health Behavior

Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama

Current Town: Atlanta, Georgia

Current Employer and Job: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for HIV, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Capacity Building Branch, Supervisory Health Scientist of the Science Application Team

What faculty member(s) positively influenced you and why? I was very fortunate by having been mentored by outstanding UAB SPH faculty members; Laura Leviton, Connie Kohler, LeaVonne Pulley, Ralph DiClemente, Gina Wingood, and Leslie Clark.  I was 100% prepared to take on my responsibilities at the CDC based upon their instructions, guidance, and mentoring.  All of them have moved on to other positions but they were outstanding professors.

Any advice for today's public health students? Take full advantage of the coursework in the School of Public Health and ensure you have a firm understanding of epidemiology, disease surveillance methods, biostatistics, health behavior, research design, health policy, health economics, and evaluation strategies.  You will need all of this in your career in public health.  You may not become an epidemiologist or biostatistician, but you will be expected to understand their reports and translate it into public health practice in a meaningful way.

Why did you choose public health as a profession? I had worked in the field of substance abuse treatment for about 10 years when the HIV epidemic began.  In 1981, I read a news article about AIDS where the CDC was quoted extensively in terms of epidemiological information about HIV transmission and behavioral prevention strategies.  I remember saying to myself, "I want to work there one day."  I became involved in HIV prevention and helped establish a community-based organization, Birmingham AIDS Outreach, to begin providing services to persons living with AIDS.  Over time, I became even more aware of the significant role the field of public health plays in terms of disease prevention and health promotion.

What lessons have your professional life taught you? Everybody can make a contribution and everyone has a role to play.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? The best advice I was given was: "Don't take it personally."  In the field of public health, there has to be critical discourse among professionals.  Some people will find considerable fault with your ideas and efforts.  Never make these differences in opinion into personal issues.  Our time on this earth is too short to waste on grudges or misplaced competition.

Student Alumni Society Member

Modupeoluwa Durojaiye2Name:Modupeoluwa "Modupe" Durojaiye

Graduation Year: 2016

Major: Public Health (Health Care Org. & Policy - Maternal & Child Health Track)

Hometown: Abeokuta, Nigeria

Why did you choose to attend UAB? UAB's School of Public Health is one of the most renowned public health schools, and one of the few with a strong maternal and child health program in the country.  The level of research being done at UAB is outstanding and the knowledge base of the professors at this school is captivating.

Who is the best professor that you have had at UAB so far and why? I have been privileged to learn from professors who are at the cutting edge of their work.  I would say all my professors here are outstanding and are all the best in their own rights.

What is your favorite UAB memory? I was given the opportunity to speak on behalf of scholars at the SOPH Annual Scholarship Luncheon on October 31, 2014 (see video below).  Being able to advocate for the continued support of my fellow public health students was a fulfilling experience.

How as UAB impacted your life? UAB has given me so many opportunities to be involved in life-changing activities.  I have been able to conduct research on issues that are very important to me, such as HIV/AIDS, with the help of great mentors.  I have also met people here who have changed my life - I met my fiancé here at UAB SOPH.

What is your current state of mind? I am preparing for my comprehensive exam, which will be in a few months.  It's safe to say I am in the "Comps State of Mind."

Who are your heroes in real life? My parents!  Their continued support and love is second to none.  I wouldn't be here without their love and sacrifice.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? The ability to put time on hold.

What is your future goal? Changing the face of health care in Africa, starting with my home country, Nigeria.

What would be your ultimate dream job? I don't want a job that is limited to the boardroom and where changes are made by the click of a mouse.  I want a job that would put me where the changes needed are being implemented.

What three items would you take to a deserted island other than food and water? My Bible, photos of my loved ones, and a solar-powered smartphone (of course, with access to the internet).

If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world...what would it be and why? The ability to prevent evil from happening to good people.  I get heartbroken when I hear about bad things happening to good people who do not deserve it.

What's the best advice you ever received? Never, ever give up.

UAB School of Public Health - Scholarship Luncheon
October 31, 2014: