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Service to People Through Public Health

Bryan O. Buckley

Service to People Through Public Health

As an undergraduate majoring in microbiology and molecular genetics, Bryan O. Buckley envisioned working as a medical technician or in a microbiology lab—that is, until professor Poorna Viswanathan pulled him aside after class.

“She encouraged me to look into public health because I was so social

and that skill set could make a bigger impact outside the lab,” recalled Buckley, who, while appreciative of Viswanathan’s nudge, confesses he “had no idea what public health was.”

After taking an epidemiology course the following semester, Buckley “fell in love with public health,” drawn to the diverse disciplines—behavioral science, health education and health policy among them—that comprise the far reaching field.

Buckley worked on global health initiatives in Antigua and Liberia, served on the tobacco-free MSU Task Force, and helped to produce one of the nation’s first statewide surveillance programs for an antibiotic- resistant bacteria called CRE while with the Michigan Department of Community Health.

“My passion for public health grew as I discovered the field’s ability to impact change on all different levels,” Buckley said.

In 2017, the Maryland native ventured back east to pursue his doctorate in public health at Harvard, but not before visiting Viswanathan on the MSU campus.

“I wanted her to know that she and Michigan State transformed my life and helped cultivate my passion,” said Buckley, now a fellow working on translational research in patient safety and quality at Med- Star Health, a prominent mid-Atlantic health system. “A career in public health has opened the door for me to make systematic changes that improve health where we live, work and play, and that feels incredibly rewarding.”


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