The opportunities for Master of Public Health (MPH) graduates continue to grow and evolve in the professional world, but Public Health as a field relies heavily on its foundational pillars to promote population health. One example of this, is the work of Environmental Public Health Investigators. Kelsey Hanley, a ColoradoSPH alumni found her niche in this area post-graduation. The work of Environmental Public Health Investigators (EPHIs) aims to minimize the risk of communicable and infectious disease. EPHIs support and conduct environmental health inspections and investigations in regulated facilities to ensure compliance with public health policy. Often these investigations include the provision of education to retail and food establishments within a community.

Kelsey graduated from the ColoradoSPH MPH program at Colorado State University, with a concentration in Animals, People, and the Environment (APE).  “The MPH degree develops a well-rounded public health professional while providing ways to specialize in many interests,” said Kelsey of her time in the MPH program.  The APE concentration in particular relies heavily on the One Health approach to stress the importance of thinking holistically when working on various public health issues. This premise sparked Kelsey’s initial interest in the APE concentration.  In her experience, holistic thinking aided in the search and acquisition of her current position as an Environmental Public Health Investigator. For new students entering the APE concentration, Kelsey recommends being open-minded and collaborative: “Walk into each course with an open mind and bring new perspectives that others may learn from.”

Kelsey’s practicum & capstone work with Boulder County Public Health helped prime her for work post-graduation. Kelsey worked on identifying barriers and benefits to managerial controls in retail food establishments. This led to tailoring recommendations for each establishment to improve health inspection outcomes, thereby decreasing the likelihood of contracting a foodborne illness.  “Working alongside Boulder County Public Health opened the doors to protecting the public [compared to previous work endeavors], which was much more fulfilling for me,” said Kelsey.

When asked about her favorite part of her job, Kelsey said, “investigating foodborne illness, collaborating with other investigators, and educating the public.” Looking towards the future, Kelsey hopes to continue on in this line of work, but aspires to specialize.  “I love what I’m doing now and in the future I will use my experience to specialize in the prevention of foodborne illness.”