Current position: Clinical Research Coordinator at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) PolicyLab
Rachel Brown, MPH, graduated from DSPH in 2021 with a major in Community Health and Prevention. During her time at Dornsife, Brown was a Fellow with the Urban Health Collaborative (UHC), where she worked on COVID policy equity assessments and was involved with the MCH Collaborative, a cross-institutional MCH collaborative including representatives from Drexel’s MCH Program, Urban Health Collaborative, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, and PolicyLab at CHOP.
She was also a Communications Associate in the Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication, developing content for Drexel’s COVID-19 website.
What drew you to MCH?
“The opportunity to impact someone’s lifelong health by reaching them when they’re a child. In particular, I have always admired CHOP’s commitment to social determinants of health programming that supports kids, of course, but also their families to have that key intergenerational impact,” said Brown.
For her Applied Practical Experience (APE) and Integrative Learning Experience (ILE), Brown worked at CHOP PolicyLab on several social needs and food insecurity projects.
How are you using your MCH training?
As a Clinical Research Coordinator at CHOP PolicyLab, Brown manages the day-to-day activities of various research projects focused on addressing social determinants of health and social needs. Brown and her PI (Dr. Danielle Cullen) are in the process of launching a study exploring how social risk screening affects family engagement with social resources.
Brown’s day-to-day duties to launch the study include developing study protocols, survey instruments, and interview guides. She loves conducting mixed methods research and being involved in the research translation process.
Brown said, “Working in a clinical setting is rewarding because you have the opportunity to have a hand in research as well as direct service programs. The two inform each other – we are always getting new perspectives to bring back to our research from working directly with families and vice versa. I really value working in an institution like CHOP that prioritizes the translation of research into policy and practice.”
"The research translation process really excites me, and it’s really meaningful to be able to work directly with families while also doing research,” she says. Brown is proud of the work she is doing to prioritize the voices and perspectives of families through her work at PolicyLab.
Highlights from getting your MPH at Dornsife?
Highlights of her time at Dornsife and as an MCH trainee include building relationships with faculty and staff, her time as a UHC Fellow, and the full breadth of public health knowledge she gained during her time at Dornsife.
Through her coursework, networking, and research, Brown was able to get a full taste of public health, which made her feel extremely confident in her career decision to join CHOP’s PolicyLab.
Advice to current and future MCH students?
To current and future students, Brown said, “Don’t be afraid to reach out to professors you may not know. If you think their research is interesting, see if they can meet or ask them to grab coffee. I have never had someone turn me down, especially if you come prepared with meaningful questions!”