Practicum Experience Builds Strong Resume for Permanent Position

Matt is a 2009 Walden graduate in the Masters in Public Health program.  In January 2010, he started a new position with the Indian Health Service in Kansas working with Native Americans to promote diabetes prevention.  Matt reported that his excellent practicum experience with a county health department in Iowa was key to landing his Federal job.  Matt kindly agreed to share his story with us.

Matt advised students to start their search early for a practicum site – about six months prior to the target start date.  He served his practicum with a county health department in Iowa, which offered him the chance to utilize research, analytical and presentation skills.  Matt’s primary responsibility was conducting a community health needs assessment.  He used ingenuity to leverage state, local and Federal databases to obtain the most current demographic information on the county’s population, which resided mostly in rural areas.  One key finding of the assessment was that the county’s Native American women were the most likely to develop asthma.  Matt also did a literature review to find the latest information on teen pregnancy prevention programs.  Additionally, he educated nursing professionals on the proper procedures to prepare organs to be harvested in compliance with the requirements of the medical examiner.  Matt gained a wide variety of experiences during his practicum.

Matt’s new position working with Native Americans on diabetes prevention is an excellent fit for his Native American heritage as well as his educational and experiential backgrounds.  His position capitalizes on his MPH degree from Walden, his practicum experience, and his undergraduate degree from Iowa State in exercise science.  He works with individual clients on physical activity and tailoring their diets to reduce blood glucose levels.  Matt feels very strongly about his work making a positive difference, stating that the Center for Disease Control reports Native Americans have the highest rate of Type 2 diabetes in the country.  We appreciate Matt sharing his success story and wish him great success in his new role!

Written by Career Services Director Lisa Cook

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