Episode #26 Interview with Samantha Santos-DaSilva: Motivating and Inspiring Public Health Professio
This interview is filled with wisdom and powerful messages that will motivate and inspire you to pursue your public health career goals with a new burst of energy and enthusiasm. That is how I felt after my interview with Samantha. She is a first generation college graduate, who has propelled through more than her fair share of challenges. She doesn’t complain, but instead has built upon every event and continues to pursue her goals. I encourage you to listen to the full episode here.
Here are a few of the highlights that we discuss in this episode:
Samantha describes her educational background.
She participated in the Freshmen Summer Institute (FSI) at the University of Southern Florida geared for first-generation college students.
She began as a pre-med student at USF and went on to receive a Bachelors and Masters in Public Health there, with a focus on global communicable diseases.
Samantha shares how she became interested in public health.
She has always enjoyed helping people.
In college she worked full-time in the Chemistry department for seven years--first as a student assistant in the office and then as a lab technician.
After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, she lost her uncle to colon cancer. He inspired her to go back to school and reach her goals.
She joined the Peace Corps while getting her Masters, serving at a health clinic in Cambodia.
She also served as a health educator on topics such as nutrition, reproduction, water and sanitation hygiene (WASH), food safety, maternal and child health (MCH), and chronic and infectious diseases.
Now, Samantha works as a Disease Intervention Specialist for Tuberculosis with the Snohomish Health District in Washington State.
She investigates new cases of both latent and active tuberculosis (TB) and offers treatment to patients.
Using Directly Observed Therapy (DOT), she works with patients every day to make sure they take their medications, in order to prevent TB resistance.
She educates and researches how and where active disease patients became infected in order to prevent the spread of TB.
Samantha talks about her future goals.
She would like to move her TB work overseas. She enjoys sharing her knowledge, seeing the results every day, and offering her skills to other public health workers.
She wants to start a public health fellowship for students who are minorities. She wants to give these students the opportunity they need to propel forward as well as bring more diversity to the public health field.
Here are some action-packed tips Samantha would give to current students interested in public health.
Try to find time to build connections with professors. They can open doors.
Work hard to get the experience you need to get you where you want to go.
Do it. Simply do it. You never are going to know what your limitations are unless you go out and do something.
Don’t be afraid of being rejected. She said that she has faced rejection many times but there was always “yes” somewhere.
Apply for jobs even if you don’t feel fully qualified. You can show what skills you have and it might lead to something else.
If you would like to learn more about the new program that I mention, then please send contact me through the contact tab of this website.