New Inclusive Public Health Student Association Focuses on Building Public Health Network

The student organization’s revamped structure promotes collaboration among GW and community

When Master of Public Health student Amanda Quintana began her term as president of the Milken Institute School of Public Health’s Public Health Student Association (PHSA) in April 2015 she knew she wanted to transform the organization into a stronger community for Milken Institute SPH students. This transformation began when PHSA was made the umbrella organization for the school’s six student organizations—The Black Public Health Student Network, Global Health Network,  Health Policy Student Association, Masters of Health Administration Student Association and Outreach. As the umbrella organization, PHSA is responsible for receiving and distributing all student activity funds for the school.

“I’m really excited that we are now an umbrella organization representing Milken Institute School of Public Health,” Quintana says. “And that we can represent our school not just for our students, but across the GW community.” This new structure allows the group to more efficiently work with the sub-organizations to cover all sides of the public health spectrum, ensuring that there is no overlap in events or communications, Quintana says. 

In addition to the new structure, Quintana and the PHSA Executive Board have identified three pillars around which the student organization is focused –community service, social/networking events and educational and professional development events. Cross collaboration with other GW schools, student organizations and the DC-area community is a key component to these pillars.

In the spirit of collaboration, PHSA has also changed its meeting schedule and format, and has added four new elected positions to facilitate in communications, and fostering strong relationships with the Office of Student Affairs and the school’s online students.

PHSA has assigned a student liaison to each of Milken Institute SPH’s six academic departments who is responsible for working with the department chair to coordinate at least three events during an assigned month of the year. These events include a journal club that features departmental research, a coffee chat with professors in that department, and a social gathering outside of the school. PHSA also saw the need to better engage with students in the school’s online programs and created two new roles to meet that need. All of these efforts advance PHSA’s goal of building a public health community and network at the school that can serve as a resource for students now and after they graduate.

PHSA holds a general body meeting each month, and invites anyone who is interested to come learn about events and get involved. Starting in 2016, the meetings will be held the second Monday of every month. Come help plan activities for National Public Health Week or the next community service activity or happy hour. For location and times of upcoming meetings, email phsagw@gmail.com.