‘In public health … we have a big reach’

In UTA Q&A, undergraduate public health director discusses the why behind her work

Friday, Mar 22, 2024 • Neph Rivera : contact

Photo of Brandie Green, UTA undergraduate director of public health" _languageinserted="true

For Brandie Green, public health is about making change on a wide scale through service. She is bringing her own background and dedication to the community into her new role as director of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation’s undergraduate public health program.

In this Q&A, Green explains why she takes public health personally and how her own experiences impacted her choice of career.

Why did you decide to pursue public health as a career path?

I had planned on going to medical school but quickly found public health because it focused on prevention rather than treatment. I am from a marginalized community and lived in a low-income area for a while. I wanted to be that voice for individuals who look like me and had to deal with many of the medical issues I saw others in my community dealing with.

One of your focuses is on maternal and child health. What led you to that?

This is more of a personal story. I had a high-risk pregnancy where I dealt with postpartum depression. But even though I was educated, I did not know a lot about it.

That’s when I thought, “If I didn’t know a lot about it, based on my education and based on where I came from, what are other people who don’t have the resources or education doing?” That’s what I wanted to address.

You have another passion in addressing health disparities. Why that focus?

Health disparities are rampant, especially among people of color and marginalized populations. That is largely due to a lack of education and resources available to these populations. I focus on health disparities because I want to bridge those gaps. The more education they have and the more students I can get to advocate for those communities, the more voices there will be speaking up about these issues for communities that don’t typically have a voice.

You were recently named the new director of undergraduate public health. What are some key messages you would like to impart on UTA public health students?

Rebecca Garner did a great job building the public health program. My goal, along with continuing her legacy, is making sure we are prominent in the community. We have a great program that is educating students on knowing what public health is so they can give it back to the field. But I’m thinking about what we are doing as a program to make sure we are helping in any way we can.

We’re working in different areas such as addressing food insecurity, maternal and child health spectrums and individuals who are experiencing homelessness. I’m looking at what else we could be doing as public health professionals to address health inequities and to improve health outcomes in our community.

What would you say about the public health program to a student who is undecided and may be considering it as a field of study?

The reason why I and a lot of our faculty are in public health is because we have a big reach. In public health, we are trying to make changes that affect an entire population.

You also get to be an advocate for those who may not ever be able to speak for themselves or who don’t have someone to ask, “What do you need?” or “How can I help you?”

The UTA public health program has excellent faculty who have hands-on experience that they bring into the classroom. Our students are more prepared than any other program that I’ve seen in North Texas. I’m really excited about where the program is going.