2nd Year Fellow Interview: Evelyn Sharkey

Evelyn Sharkey, MPH, MSW

Population Health Service Fellow, 2014-2016

What were you up to prior to your Fellowship?
After college, I joined Teach for America and taught high school science in Baltimore, MD, for 2 years. Teaching and living in Baltimore was an invaluable experience that has really shaped what I want to do with my career/life, first with helping me decide to go back to school for public health and social work. I got my MPH and MSW degrees from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, which is where I was right before moving to Wisconsin for the Fellowship.

What inspired you to take the Fellowship route rather than a different type of job/school/etc.?
I decided to take the Fellowship route—the Wisconsin Population Health Service Fellowship in particular—because of the mentorship, support, and peer network provided by all of the staff, faculty, preceptors, and fellows involved. I’m so appreciative of the opportunity the Fellowship provides to hone my skills and gain experience in the areas of public health that I think will best prepare me for the next stage in my career.

What are your main areas of interest within public health?
My main area of interest in public health is epidemiology, and how it can be used to address health inequalities and inequities.

What is one thing (or many!) that you are working on right now in your Fellowship?
I recently started a secondary Fellowship placement with the Community Health Improvement for Milwaukee’s Children (CHIMC) project, a community-based research study that aims to address disparities in immunization rates among children in Milwaukee. I’m excited to add this placement, which ties in nicely with the immunization-related projects I’ve worked on at the City of Milwaukee Health Department (my initial placement).

In addition to my work with CHIMC—which will mostly involve conducting a survey of the immunization practices and policies of daycare agencies in Milwaukee and analyzing enrollment, recruitment, and outcomes of the overall CHIMC initiative—I’m continuing my work with the City of Milwaukee Health Department. Right now I’m conducting an analysis of disparities in rates of gastrointestinal illness among children in Milwaukee, overseeing the provider- and public-focused activities of a HPV vaccine grant received by the Immunize Milwaukee! Coalition, and working with a public health practicum student on a consumer food safety survey.

Do you read a public health journal/blog/website regularly?  If so, what?
I’m particularly interested in communicable diseases and emergency preparedness, so I regularly read news from the University of Minnesota’s Center for InfectiousDisease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), and I receive daily e-mail digests from the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMED) of the International Society for Infectious Disease.

What do you like best about living in Milwaukee?
Summer is a great time to be in Milwaukee—there are so many festivals and special events (it is the "City of Festivals," after all!). Also, I’m a big fan of going out to eat all year long, and Milwaukee has some great restaurants; some of my favorites are Beans & Barley, Honeypie, and Purple Door Ice Cream (not technically a restaurant, but it has delicious ice cream).