Carly Hood, MPA, MPH
Wisconsin Center for Health Equity
Wisconsin Division of Public Health
When did you begin your Fellowship?
I started the Fellowship in August
2012. While I participated in orientation activities in early July, I was
finishing credits for my global health certificate during the month so I didn’t
actually start at my placement sites until August.
Where is your Fellowship placement?
What were you up to prior to your
Prior to the Fellowship I had been
gallivanting internationally for several years; I was teaching English,
volunteering, working on photography, and shaking my sense of wanderlust (never
leaves btw…). Post international work, I moved to Wisconsin to pursue my Master
of Public Affairs at the Robert M.
Lafollette School of Public Affairs and kept finding health
justice was the policy area I was most interested in. Just before starting the
Fellowship I completed both my Master of Public Affairs and Master of Public
Health degrees. My coursework was heavily policy analysis and global health.
What inspired you to take the
Fellowship route rather than a different type of job/school/etc.?
The Fellowship seemed a great way to
TRY ON different aspects of public health. It’s such a broad field and it’s so
easy to get pigeonholed in specific roles and jobs. Rather than jumping into a
particular job, the fellowship has allowed me to dabble in a wide variety of
projects, requiring use of different skills and specialties. To me, this meant
I’d be better equipped in the long run to choose a job that aligns most closely
with my desired professional objectives and the skills I enjoy using. It’s allowed
me to both determine what I LIKE to do day in and day out, and what I DO NOT
like to do. I should also note, this flexibility means the Fellowship requires
a lot of self-direction. Since there’s no pre-determined “job deliverable” or
particular skill set required, you sometimes have to look harder for those
projects you want to work on or create them yourself! But I enjoy that.
What are your main areas of interest
within public health?
Having the economics and policy
background that I do, I definitely come at public health with that lens. My
main area of focus is how social policies—those related to income/poverty,
employment, education and housing—ultimately impact health outcomes. Having
studied economics in undergraduate school at Lewis and Clark
College, I view things at the systems-level and often take a very
global perspective (details aren’t my forte. See? I’m learning about how my
brain works in the Fellowship!). I’m fascinated by how we set up our societies,
programs, institutions, etc. to support or inhibit health and well-being—which
I believe is a human right. There are a lot of countries around the world that
have established recognized pillars or foundations for their citizens (access
to education, housing, healthcare, and financial support in times of need)
which leave their populations healthier, living longer, and requiring less
money to be spent on “band aid” solutions down the road.
What are some things you are working on
right now in your fellowship?
The biggest projects I’m currently
working on include:
and evaluating a professional development training for my public health
colleagues to encourage a focus on the social determinants of health;
the link between social policy and health outcomes and presenting this
information at orientations, trainings and conferences; and
to turn efforts towards writing/publishing for my last 7 months as a
What is one public health achievement
you think will happen in the next 25 years? What is one you would like to see
in the next 25 years?
I think people will start to connect
poverty to health a bit more and I HOPE this means we start considering bigger
poverty reduction/child support policies at the national and state levels (we
could take a page out of the books of some other countries in this respect).
I would LIKE to see traditional health
professionals (doctors, nurses, hospitals, clinics) adopt practices/advocate
for broad policy change that would have a more far reaching impact on patient
health outcomes than individual, clinical care alone. I think this, too, is
attainable. The more people can understand that health is not just in the
hospital or clinic, the quicker the solutions will come.
Do you have any fun insider tips about
life in Madison?
Get a CSA! Community Supported Agriculture is HUGE here and it’s amazing!
For 2 summers now, I’ve picked up a box of veggies from a local farm every
other week and spent about $50 a month on yogurt, tofu, and beans in the store.
It saves money, it’s delicious, and it supports Wisconsin farmers. Do it!