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Arnold School of Public Health

  • John Bruno

Public health grounds health care field in humanity for future medical student

December 13, 2023 | Erin Bluvas, 

John Bruno chose USC for its public health program. The Simpsonville, South Carolina native has had a clear vision of what he wants to do with his life since high school.

“I yearned for a health care approach centered around humanity,” says the December graduate, who plans to attend medical school next fall. “The conventional biology route didn’t quite captivate me; instead, I sought a field that delves into the impactful trends and effects addressed in the dynamic realm of public health. I find immense fulfillment in navigating this fascinating intersection of health care and societal well-being.”

Embrace a mindset that transcends personal beliefs and cultural boundaries, as this is fundamental to cultivating cultural competency within the realm of public health.

John Bruno

The program didn’t disappoint, and Bruno immersed himself in the field both on and off campus. He found mentors in the classroom, where he says Charlotte Galloway’s introduction course sparked a transformative journey to understanding the field and its nuances, and Kersten Cope’s global health course and capstone seminar helped prepare him for graduation and beyond.

Bruno also found a role model in Jennifer Fillo. He has worked as a graduate assistant in the health promotion, education, and behavior assistant professor’s Carolina Health and Relationship Mechanisms (CHARM) Lab for more than a year – securing Scholar, Mini and Explorer Magellan grants and achieving Graduation with Leadership Distinction in Research in the process.

“Dr. Fillo has prioritized her students’ growth in a professional manner that is suited to their interests,” Bruno says. “She gave me the space to gain confidence in my knowledge of certain issues in public health, as well as expand on the constructs and theories that I learned in my undergraduate courses.”  

John Bruno
John Bruno graduates this month with a B.S. and Public Health and Leadership Distinction in Research.

Though he shares Fillo’s research interests in substance use and other risk behaviors among young adults, the Alpha Epsilon Delta (Pre-Health Honors Society) member got plenty of experience in other areas of health care during his tenure at USC. A certified technician with Phlebotomy Training Specialists, Bruno also spent time volunteering in Prisma Health’s emergency and ophthalmology departments.

For the past three football seasons, he helped organize and facilitate donations for the Carolina Clemson Blood Battle. The President’s and Dean’s List honoree managed to balance all of this with his research assistantship, work as an ophthalmic technician and DJing for the student-run radio station, WUSC.
“I think it is important for students to enter the public health field with an open mind,” Bruno says, looking back. “There are many moving parts to the discipline of public health – a lot of these parts being concepts or ideas that are different from our own understanding of the world. Embrace a mindset that transcends personal beliefs and cultural boundaries, as this is fundamental to cultivating cultural competency within the realm of public health.” 


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