Spring graduates ready to combat health disparities
by Chynna Lockett |
Faculty members from the Division of Population Health Sciences held a reception to celebrate their graduating Spring class. Friends and family were invited to mark a milestone for students graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Health Science (BSHS). Faculty held gold balloons that spelt out 2023 and posed with their students.
Kiki Moua sat at a table surrounded by excited family members and stacked with colorful congratulatory bouquets.
She beamed, “I’m really happy. I did it broke. I did it tired. But I was determined.”
Moua said finding a focus that sparks passion made the hard-work easier. For her, that’s Health Education. Her goal is to combat health disparities that people of color and other underrepresented communities face.
“With the health education field, you’re involved with people on a very vulnerable, intimate level. You get to learn about their struggles and get to understand things like ‘why aren’t you healthy’? Well, because you have all these barriers.”
She plans to use her degree to empower people with the support and resources they need. Moua will be working as a medical assistant, earning clinical experience for graduate school while she prepares for the Certified Health Education Specialist exam in the fall.
Another BSHS graduate, Katelyn Lovs, attended UAA online from Seattle.
She laughed, “I got my masters in Zoom.”
Lovs said attending UAA remotely allowed her to choose from more classes and work in both locations. Despite a jam-packed schedule, she started an organization her senior year to promote harm reduction.
“We empower people to live their own lives, whether that is using drugs, practicing sex.” She said, “We just empower them to do it in the safest way possible so we can eliminate the risk of Hepatitis C, HIV, AIDS, abscesses with drug use, needle use. Anything related to public health.”
Lovs recently received grant funding for her work in Seattle. In the future, she’s considering expansion.
“Keep your eye out for harm reduction in Alaska because I have some thoughts and I’m going to get some wheels spinning here.”
Nearly 30 students graduated from the BSHS program this semester, prepared to apply their education to careers in public and community health.
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Alaska Health Misinformation Response Project
- Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies