May 12, 2014 | 1 Comment
Before Jonathan Bridges began his senior year at Campbell University, he hadn’t given much thought to pursuing graduate studies in public health. But then he took a health communication course his senior year. During it, a staff member with the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences gave a presentation on the Master of Science in Public Health program the university would soon offer. Public health, Bridges found, offered “a nice blend of health care administration and health policy, as well as bridged the clinical focus on a community level.”
On Friday, he was among the charter class of nine students who graduated from Campbell with a Master of Science in Public Health degree.
“This charter class of public health at Campbell is paving the way for the future of health outcomes research,” Bridges said. “As graduates of the charter class, we are excited to lead the way for future students to make an impact on their communities.”
Bridges added that during his five years of undergraduate and graduate education, Campbell taught him much “than what is behind a degree.”
“Above all time management, perseverance and patience have been among the three greatest lessons I have learned,” said Bridges, a Wilmington, N.C., native who chose to attend Campbell because of the small environment. “These are skills that cannot be learned in a textbook, but take years of patience and cultivation to master.”
Those skills were, in part, cultivated through his internship, work and research experiences he had while at Campbell. Those experiences include designing a biological attack and developing a hospital grateful patient fundraising campaign. As a student and graduate assistant, he also worked in Campbell’s Alumni Relations office helping plan regional alumni events, engaging alumni with their alma mater and serving on the Alumni Board of Directors. And for his master’s thesis, he conducted an original research project that studied if there were any connections between low heart health literacy and risk for developing heart disease.
He was drawn to the study because many people suffer or know someone who suffers from heart disease, the No. 1 killer in the U.S., North Carolina and Harnett County, he said. “To have an opportunity to research an issue in order to promote change is part of the reason for this Master of Science in Public Health program.”
His results showed “some significance” between heart literacy and risks, which has “considerations for implementing heart disease education programs in the community,” he said.
This study not only expanded his awareness about health literacy and disease, it helped him practice time management, perseverance and patience -- and appreciate how those skills pay off.
At times, he got frustrated during his research and wondered if the data analysis was “pointless,” he said. But when he sat down to talk with people in the community about heart disease, it hit him that the work he was doing “is not just about numbers and data, it’s about making a positive difference in someone’s life.”
Those lessons and skills will be handy as enters the next phase of his life. “I believe we are led into certain directions for a reason,” he said, “and I am grateful to God, family, peers, and professors for keeping me grounded and open-minded to whatever direction I may be led to.” –Cherry Crayton
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