Sarah Cercone Heavey always had a passion for science and health, as well as an interest in human behavior and the motivations behind behavioral choices.
“While conducting research in perinatal mood disorders after undergrad, I discovered that public health really is the connection between science, health and behavior,” she said.
Cercone Heavey looked at various MPH programs and chose UB for its strong academic program and its location. “Buffalo is my hometown and I wanted to remain a part of this community,” she said.
“UB, and in particular my department, Community Health and Health Behavior, provided me with the education necessary to be successful in public health,” said Cercone Heavey. “My professors were excellent and brought out my very best while allowing me the room to explore my individual interests. For example, when my faculty advisor learned of my interest in mental health, he suggested that I complete my field placement at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center, which proved to be one of the most valuable experiences of my MPH. This flexibility to pursue individual interests while completing the core requirements of the MPH allowed me to develop both my knowledge base and personal interests, rather than just following a prescribed course of study.”
A public health leader in her community, Cercone Heavey today serves as the program coordinator for the Western New York Lead Poisoning Prevention Resource Center (LPPRC). The LPPRC is committed to the prevention, early detection and effective management of lead poisoning in children and pregnant women in the region. Based out of Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, Cercone Heavey is responsible for the day-to-day activities of the center, including community outreach and education through participation in health fairs, local coalitions and other community events. “I work with eight county health departments as well as area health care providers to further lead poisoning prevention and treatment in the Western New York area,” she said.