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Arnold School of Public Health

I Am Public Health: Nyrobi Tyson

August 1, 2022 | Erin Bluvas,

Nyrobi Tyson has been a public health advocate for more than a decade. The Hendersonville, North Carolina native spent three of her high school years volunteering with – and ultimately serving as vice president for – Teens Against Tobacco Use.

“I loved how public health education empowered students to make more informed decisions about their health,” Tyson says of her work designing interactive tobacco prevention activities for 300 middle schoolers and training high school peers to facilitate these activities at bi-annual programs.

After graduation, the Gates Millenium Scholar spent a year with City Year AmeriCorps in San Antonio, Texas. As part of her 1700 hours of service, Tyson provided other AmeriCorps members with evidence-based resources that they could use when coaching students through behavioral interventions.

Epidemiology can shine a light on the social factors that impact our health and be used as a tool to point towards solutions as simple as washing your hands with soap and water, that have a lasting impact on all people.

-Nyrobi Tyson, Master of Science in Public Health in Epidemiology

In 2015, she moved to South Carolina to study public health at Furman University. During one of her introductory courses, she fell in love with the field of epidemiology.

“I got to understand how data can begin to tell the story about the health of a population,” Tyson says. “Epidemiology can shine a light on the social factors that impact our health and be used as a tool to point towards solutions as simple as washing your hands with soap and water, that have a lasting impact on all people.”

As an undergraduate, Tyson gained research experience throughout the Greenville area. She collected data on trauma injuries for Prisma Health Greenville Hospital’s emergency department, served as a community health advocate for the hospital system by helping patients access their online health records and assessed patients’ knowledge regarding colorectal cancer screenings. She also held fellowships with Prisma/LiveWell Greenville in applied data and ethics research as well as with Furman University’s Institute for the Advancement of Community Health in childhood obesity and the built environment.

When looking at graduate programs, she felt that UofSC offered a rigorous program that was still small and intimate. Tyson also believed that the Arnold School’s environment and values would help her foster meaningful relationships with peers and faculty.

As a student in the Master of Science in Public Health in Epidemiology program, she continued building her research expertise by working as a graduate research assistant on a project evaluating a personalized rheumatoid arthritis phone application. Melanie Cozad (then an assistant professor of health services policy and management) had mentored Tyson during one of her undergraduate research projects and invited her to continue gaining research experience on the arthritis study. She also found mentors in associate professor/thesis director Nansi Boghossian and clinical associate professor/outgoing graduate director Linda Hazlett.

“Dr. Boghossian, has provided me with so much patience, support and encouragement,” Tyson says. “Dr. Hazlett provided the support and safety net I needed that kept me enrolled and allowed me to finish this program.”

As a postpartum doula (a position she began after her bachelor’s graduation) throughout her master’s program, Tyson’s interests naturally lean toward maternal health. After her August graduation, she plans to apply what she’s learned by gaining more professional experience in the field before possibly pursuing a Ph.D.

“I am passionate about utilizing research and evidence-based practices to improve health outcomes in clinical settings and in local communities,” Tyson says. “My career aspirations are to use big data and research to integrate clinical care and public health to improve population health and provide support and research to close the racial maternal morbidity and mortality gap.”

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.