Bianca Marrara

Bianca Marrara is a current MPH student with a concentration in Epidemiology.

How did you become interested in epidemiology as your field of study?

Upon graduating from Niagara University in May 2016 with a bachelor's degree, I decided to attend the Masters of Public Health (MPH) program with a concentration in epidemiology at University at Buffalo. My reasoning was because I felt that this program would allow me to receive a true understanding of health on a global scale, as well as the ability to articulate specific patterns and causes of diseases in different populations through differing study designs. I believe this knowledge is both vital and beneficial for me, since it will allow me to bring a new perspective to the field of medicine, which I hope to enter in the upcoming year.

Why did you choose UB?

I became aware of this program at University at Buffalo through my undergraduate advisor who felt I was a good candidate for this program based upon my interests and research in which I was conducting at the time. My research consisted of investigating antibiotic resistance found in wild animals and the causes for it, which leaned strongly towards human activities. My research exemplified the importance of being aware of our actions, and the effects it has on both our health and the environment around us. Due to this and my interest in medicine, my advisor felt strongly that this program would provide me with a great foundation for understanding the depth of disease as well as treatments both in individuals and populations.

Although this program is offered at many schools, I believe the program here was the best fit for me because I can still be close to my family while also pursuing a desire to improve the health of those in Western New York, which is a home for many refugee populations. Not only does the university allow me to be immersed in a number of cultures, but contains top-rated professors with countless experiences in the field of public health. The school is also affiliated with a multitude of organizations allowing for a wide-array of field training opportunities and jobs for the future.

Tell us more about your experience in the MPH program.

Through the MPH program here at UB, I’ve been given the ability to become knowledgeable not only in my specific concentration, but also in the other concentrations offered. All students are required to take introductory classes for each concentration, providing insight into the importance of public health and the many fields that comprise it.

The courses provide both my classmates and I with the necessary information to make a difference in health globally. These courses also prepare us for our field training, where we are given the opportunity to enter the field of public health in an area that interests us.

My field training is at Roswell Park Cancer Institute where I have been performing research on two different projects. The first one is on the existing health disparities and degree of cancer knowledge in specific minority populations in Western New York. The second project is focused on the quality of life that patients maintain after specific surgeries conducted at the institute. These projects have allowed me to take what I’ve learned in the classroom and utilize it in the real world, where I can bring to light a number of health concerns existing in Western New York.

What do you enjoy the most about the MPH program?

I have enjoyed the interactions with both my classmates and my professors the most. The students in the program are some of the brightest and most well-rounded from around the globe. By having such intelligent and diverse peers, it allows each of us to become more driven and culturally competent, which are traits that I can utilize in the field of public health.

In addition to my classmates, I have the opportunity to learn from some of the most knowledgeable professors in the area. These professors dedicate an abundant amount of their time to helping all of their students.  This is not limited to just the classroom, as professors are also very willing to help you in your pursuit of future endeavors as well. They are always willing to share their past experiences and advice, in a hope that it can help us in our future.

How does receiving a degree from UB SPHHP set you apart?

I believe obtaining this degree will allow me to gain a broader perspective and a better understanding of the health of individuals and communities. By understanding this importance, I can focus on practicing preventative care, where I provide my patients with the necessary knowledge to stay healthy and protected from current infectious diseases, which ultimately keeps both the individual and the communities they live in healthy.