A Queen's MPH'16 alumnus, Kaitlynn Almeida currently works as a Senior Specialist at Cancer Care Ontario. In her role, she is focused on performance management around provincial priorities for quality improvement, and collaborates with colleagues to proactively mitigate potential cancer system issues in Ontario.
Kaitlynn realized her passion for public health early on in her undergraduate degree. Her interest to learn more about opportunities to prevent illness and improve population health first sparked while volunteering abroad, and the journey has continued ever since.
“When I applied to the MPH program, I was seeking to translate my background in life sciences into action to positively impact communities. Many aspects of public health appealed to me, including the multitude of opportunities to enhance education around social determinants of health and improve access to care. The Queen’s MPH program stood out to me due to its focus on translating the best available evidence into action while providing education on a variety of topic areas, such as public health policy, epidemiology, health economics, program evaluation, and infectious diseases.”
When asked about some of the highlights of her time in the Queen’s MPH program, Kaitlynn points out the value she found in learning from her classmates. "We each had a unique story to share and diverse perspectives to bring to the table. Being part of a program that recognized this and fostered collaborative learning provided us with a great deal of knowledge that we can carry forward."
Like other MPH students, the practicum placement was a key part of Kaitlynn's experience. "I thoroughly enjoyed my practicum at Ottawa Public Health (OPH), where I worked with nurses, doctors, and an epidemiologist. My goal was to gain work experience in the communicable disease field, due to my interest in preventing the spread of infections. I conducted analyses and proposed evidence-based recommendations to more equitably distribute chlamydia case follow-up amongst the OPH team, and provide the best level of care to clients despite resource limitations and an increasing prevalence of cases. It’s been extremely rewarding to see work from my practicum be implemented at Ottawa Public Health and to have co-presented with my former supervisor at the Canadian Public Health Association conference in 2017."
One of the highlights of Kaitlynn's time in her MPH came in her last semester, when she and a group of fellow MPHers organized a cancer prevention conference titled CanPrevent. The purpose of the conference was to explore developments in primary, secondary, and tertiary cancer prevention. The conference was well attended by classmates as well as students in various programs at Queen’s. Kaitlynn was particularly enthusiastic about the accomplished speakers from the Queen’s Department of Public Health Sciences, Public Health Ontario, and Cancer Care Ontario, among other organizations. She notes, "I actually met a couple of of my current colleagues for the first time at this conference, when they were speakers and I was a Speakers Coordinator!”
Through her work at Cancer Care Ontario, Kaitlynn has found that "One of the qualities I’ve been recognized for in my current role is my ability to understand the big picture of what we are seeking to accomplish, and how the work we are doing fits in. I largely attribute this understanding to the breadth in curriculum of the Queen’s MPH program, which has provided me with a strong educational foundation for my career. There are moments where I find myself smiling and thinking about how I am translating knowledge from my MPH into action through my work. These moments are underpinned by the emphasis the Queen’s MPH program put on stakeholder engagement, learning from peers, and targeting communications to your audience.”