How to bring your public health passion to life - from teacher to public health student at Yale, with Neal Patel


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In this episode, Sujani sits down with Neal Patel, a current MPH student and former teacher. Neal shares an inspiring story of what led him to pursue an MPH degree and how those in public health can take action in helping their communities of interest.

You’ll Learn

  • How Neal’s experience as an educator inspired him to pursue public health
  • Neal’s experience of taking action and organizing community health projects
  • What skills an MBA can provide for those who want to make changes in the health of their community
  • How business administration plays a role in addressing health disparities in the community
  • Advice from Neal on how to find your niche in public health
  • Advice from Neal on how to move past contemplation and into action
  • How Neal’s background as a teacher has helped and shaped his public health career
  • What teachers can learn from public health, and what public health can learn from teachers

Today’s Guest

I was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, but grew up in Charleston, SC. I graduated from Clemson University in May of 2017 with a BS in Genetics and a BS in Biochemistry. I was not super clear as to what direction I wanted to pursue post-graduation – I was thinking about medical school, but after speaking with several physicians about their experiences, I wanted to delay and try something new. So after college, I moved to Tulsa, OK to serve as a Teach For America Corps Member. I taught 7th/8th grade Math at Hale Junior High School. My experience in the classroom exposed me to the breadth of disparity in health outcomes/experiences for my students/families compared to many of my peers in college. As I transitioned to work as the Manager of Alumni Leadership for Teach For America, where I did a fair amount of organizing work for community health initiatives, I began to see how systemic these disparities were, so I decided to learn more. I'm currently at the Yale School of Public Health pursuing my MPH in Health Policy, where I have further developed my passions in data-driven solutions, health economics, policy evaluation, and health communications.

As I continue on this path, I hope to connect with more folks in the healthcare world to ideate and reimagine health in our country. Happy to chat whenever!


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