story by Homma Rafi
Director of Communications, School of Public Health
ATLANTA–Georgia State University’s School of Public Health celebrated the inaugural class of the Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.) program during Spring 2021 Commencement.
The two graduates, Dr. Jyll Walsh and Samuel Clasp, were celebrated at a private Commencement and Hooding Ceremony on May 4 in Student Center East. Remarks were made by Dr. Harry J. Heiman, the Dr.P.H. program director, and Dr. Rodney Lyn, interim dean of the School of Public Health.
Dr. Walsh, a spring 2021 graduate, is the program manager for Prevent Child Abuse Georgia, a research center in the Mark Chaffin Center for Healthy Development in the School of Public Health. Her Dr.P.H. dissertation focused on educating and enhancing field practices of professional home visiting workforce to prevent use of corporal punishment with children.
Dr. Walsh said she plans to use the skills from the program to better advocate for strategies and policies that strengthen families.
“I am grateful for the supportive environment and mentorship I have received along the way from Prevent Child Abuse Georgia, my School of Public Health faculty advisers and dissertation committee,” Dr. Walsh said.
Clasp, a summer 2021 graduate, is a public health policy analyst with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Office of the Associate Director for Policy and Strategy. He primarily focuses on housing and refundable tax credit policy as public health interventions targeted towards improving health outcomes for low- and moderate-income individuals.
Clasp previously worked closely on COVID-19 response in CDC’s Division for Healthcare Quality Promotion, specifically related to its impacts on skilled nursing facilities, which was the impetus of his doctoral research on leveraging policies to prevent and respond to communicable disease outbreaks in nursing facilities. He intends to continue working on policy-based interventions that mitigate adverse health outcomes for vulnerable populations.
“The School of Public Health’s Dr.P.H. program’s vision and goal are to prepare the next generation of public health leaders. But leadership is the conduit, the means, not the end,” said Dr. Heiman. “Being prepared as a leader positions you to make a difference. For us, that means working to tackle the many complex problems we face in a way that not only advances health, but advances health equity. If we, as a School of Public Health are doing our jobs, health equity should be our North Star, and preparing leaders to be health equity champions should be our obsession. I am confident that these are the kind of public health leaders that are graduating today.”
The Dr.P.H. program began in August 2018 and enrolls 30 students from diverse public health backgrounds. Designed for full-time working professionals, the program focuses on training to advance public health and health equity. Learn more at publichealth.gsu.edu/drph.