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Public Health Program’s Flexibility Helps Students Find Work-Life Balance

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Brittany LaPan is sought out by her colleagues when they have questions. As a recent graduate from the UVM Master of Public Health Program, LaPan credits the online program with giving her the knowledge and skills that are making a difference at work.

LaPan is the Occupational Health Specialist at Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans. Her job entails working with local businesses to ensure the safety of employees through programming, vaccinations, post offer physical exams, and taking care of injured workers when they get hurt on the job.

“People at work will come and find me or pull me into different projects saying, ‘How can we use the public health knowledge you have?’” says LaPan, who completed the UVM Public Health Master’s Program in May. “Having that knowledge is so rewarding and being sought out is great.”

A Public Health School Program That Offers Flexibility, Balance

UVM’s 42-credit, graduate public health school is offered in collaboration with the UVM Larner College of Medicine. The top-ranked program leads to a generalist MPH degree focused on excellence in environmental public health, epidemiology, quantitative public health sciences, and health policy, leadership, and advocacy.

Brittany LaPan MPH Graduation

LaPan, who grew up in Swanton, graduated from Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire with a degree in public health. She decided to enroll in UVM’s Public Health Graduate Certificate Program and eventually the Public Health Master’s program.

“I decided to go to UVM because I missed going to school. I like to learn new things and expand my knowledge,” she says. “I liked that the program was online, and also that I lived close enough to campus that I could meet with a faculty member in person if I needed to. The online program also allowed me to continue to work full time.”

What made UVM’s graduate public health school especially appealing for LaPan was the flexibility it offered. Between the time she started the graduate certificate program and completed the master’s program, LaPan had planned a wedding, given birth to her two children—now 3-1/2 and 11 months—and managed to work full time. It was all about balancing work, life and school. The online program allowed for this.

“The program is flexible enough so you can still have a life. You don’t have to put your life on hold or quit your job,” she says. “I would take one or two classes at a time, with a gap year between the certificate and master’s program when my first child was born. All the while, I felt supported by UVM to do what I needed to do.”


Learn more about UVM’s Master of Public Health Program