May 19, 2023 | Erin Bluvas, firstname.lastname@example.org
Growing up in Aiken, South Carolina, Hannah Price always knew she was interested in health care. Her mom’s anatomy and physiology textbooks fostered an interest in how the human body works, and four-year-old Price imagined becoming a pediatrician.
“As I got older, the more I was exposed to different aspects of the health care field, the more I learned that there was more to it than just physicians and nurses,” says Price, who studied public health as an undergraduate at USC. “As I reached college, exposure to the concept of public health and individuals who held administrative roles in hospitals were the catalysts for my interest shifting from clinical areas to administration.”
To complement her coursework, the Capstone Fellow sought out experiences to explore the different sides of public health. She observed lab research and volunteered with organizations like the American Heart Association, ultimately achieving Graduation with Leadership Distinction in Community Service and completing a minor in business administration.
“When searching for graduate programs, I knew there was more for me to learn, not only at USC, but within the Columbia community,” Price says of choosing to enroll in the Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Services Policy and Management (HSPM) program. “It felt right to stay, and I’m so glad I did.”
During her program, the Michael D. Jarrett Scholarship Award winner interned with South Carolina First Steps, served as a graduate assistant with USC’s Student Health Services, and assisted the SC American College of Healthcare Executives Midlands Local Programming Chapter Leadership Team. She found mentors in undergraduate advisor Kara Montgomery and HSPM faculty Kolby Redd, Kelli Kenison, Elizabeth Crouch, and Bankole Olatosi.
“Throughout both my undergraduate and graduate degrees at USC, I have been lucky to have mentors that have helped me identify my strengths and how I can use them,” she says. “These individuals have offered countless hours of support and advice during my program and have cheered me on as I navigate the early stages of my career.”
I have seen first-hand a variety of public health issues that disproportionately affect veterans, which has pushed me to pursue a career in which I can help improve their quality of life. It is important to me to give back to those who have given so much for our country.
Price spent the final semester of her program interning with the Dorn VA Medical Center. With veterans/active military in her family (including her dad and grandfathers) and circle of friends, Price has always been passionate about this population.
“I have seen first-hand a variety of public health issues that disproportionately affect veterans, which has pushed me to pursue a career in which I can help improve their quality of life,” she says. “It is important to me to give back to those who have given so much for our country.”
With her MPH in hand, Price will work in the VA medical system, with plans to lead a VA hospital one day. She’ll kick off her career as a staff member in the director’s office at Dorn.
“Explore different areas until you find what you are passionate about,” Price advises students interested in a similar path. “The USC MPH program allows you to explore different opportunities and meet public health professionals with such a wide variety of careers. The faculty will encourage you as you pursue your goals—or help you figure out what they are if you aren’t quite sure yet.”