Student Spotlight: How Did a Foreign Policy Student Become Part of the UMN MCH Master’s Program?

#UMNMCH student Julieta Barbiero(she/her) wrote this reflection on her path to public health and her work with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

What was your path to the UMN MCH Program?

I was not always in the public health field. I received my bachelor’s degree in international studies from American University in Washington, D.C. My original plan was to follow a career in foreign policy, but after learning about reproductive rights movements in the US and my home country of Argentina, I decided to make a career move to public health. 

I started my MCH path in the fall of 2021 and began my master’s degree as a distance learner in California. I am a passionate online student and am grateful for the flexibility distance learning gives me. As a teaching assistant (TA), I make sure that all of my students feel seen and heard as distant learners.

Tell us about your deployment: what did you work on, what was the goal, and did your work result in any products?

My deployment was with the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) MCH section of the Division of Child and Family Health, working on MDH MN’s Maternal Mortality Review Project (MMMRP). The MMMRP is a statewide initiative to improve health outcomes for pregnant women by preventing maternal death through developing recommendations from case reviews. This deployment supported efforts that addressed maternal health outcomes with a particular focus on maternal mortality and morbidity in Minnesota and nationally. My team and I focused on creating community resources that family members can use to support their children, which heavily focused on building Family-Professional Partnerships (MCH Leadership Competency #8). I helped create data briefs, posters, and toolkits on topics including Parent Support and Education, Care During Pregnancy and Delivery, Family Planning, and many more. 

What are you working on now?

I interned for the MDH and am currently TA-ing the Foundations of Public Health course. Now that I feel I have found my calling in public health, I hope to one day work with state governments on improving and installing comprehensive sex education programs.

In the spring 2023 semester, I will be working on my ILE. It will be focused on my APEX experience with the Minnesota Department of Health. The overall goal of my project is to synthesize what I learned at that time. I worked on two research projects, one was on the Levels of Maternal Care, and the other was on disappearing maternal care units across the country. With my work on these projects, I learned that where someone is born and whether their parents had a safe delivery affects the development and growth of the child. I also learned the complexities of states’ requirements for maternal care units and how they can help improve or weaken the care they provide. 
Julieta Barbiero is a second-year MPH – MCH student and a distant learner living in California. She started her MCH career after graduating from American University with a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies. After considering a career in foreign policy, she decided that her true passion was in reproductive, maternal, and sexual health. She hopes to one day help implement comprehensive, accurate, and inclusive sexual health education courses in public schools across the country. Learn more about Julieta on LinkedIn.

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Interested in learning more about getting a degree in MCH? Visit our MCH Program page for more information. 

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