Anushka Banerjee is a senior at the University of Florida, pursuing her Bachelor of Public Health, along with her minors in Health Disparities in Society and Anthropology. She is currently the Program Operations Coordinator of the UF Mobile Outreach Clinic and is also a Community Programs Intern at the Alachua County Health Department. After graduation, she hopes to attend graduate school and get her Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in epidemiology or social and behavioral science.
Major: Public Health
Minor: Health Disparities in Society, Anthropology
Hometown: Tampa, FL
Why major in public health?
From an early age, my parents and I traveled all over the world and I was able to see so many unique places and learn about cultures and different ways of life. One of the most influential places I have been to is India, where my parents were both born and raised. I always noticed the stark differences in health care between India and the U.S. and often found myself wondering why my cousins did not have the same things I did back home. As I grew older, I started wanting to be part of a solution to helping health disparities in countries just like India, but I was not sure how I could do this. In my first semester of college, I was introduced to what public health really entailed, and from there I knew that is what I wanted to be a part of. I chose to major in public health to affect change across communities and encourage preventative health measures. I want to work with marginalized communities and address health disparities that exist through systematic change.
What is most interesting about public health?
One of the most interesting things about public health is how the domains are so interconnected, and how this affects our day to day lives. What a team of epidemiologists, anthropologists, and social and behavioral analysts find one day can become part of a policy that affects citizens on a massive scale the next day. The interdisciplinary efforts of public health show case how critical team effort and differing perspectives really are when brainstorming, developing, implementing, and applying action into our communities.
Why did you choose UF?
I chose to go to the University of Florida initially to stay close (but far enough!) from home, while being able to study and make meaningful connections at a Top 6 public university. Coming into UF with very little idea of what I wanted to do, to being able to form connections and learn lessons both inside and out of the classroom that have guided me towards my goals have made me even more grateful for my decision to become a Gator!
What experience at UF has been most influential?
One of the most influential experiences I have had since being here at UF has been joining UF’s Mobile Outreach Clinic. This organization has brought me so many mentorships, friendships, lessons, and has made me realize further how deeply I care about pursuing my goals as a public health professional. When I came into this organization, I had no idea how valuable this experience would be to me.
Do you participate in extracurriculars? If so, which?
Yes, outside of class work I do participate in a few other activities. I am the Program Operations Coordinator of the Mobile Outreach Clinic, a Community Programs Intern at the Alachua County Health Department, and I am also the President of the Strong Roots Movement.
Do you have any jobs while in college? What do you do?
I do! I work as staff at UF’s Mobile Outreach Clinic (MOC) as the Program Operations Coordinator. The Mobile Outreach Clinic is a free, mobile clinic which aims to provide education and health services to our community. A major part of my role at MOC is overseeing and helping the Care Coordination program, which utilizes about 40 undergraduate volunteers who follow up with our patients and address their barriers to health care. Other aspects of my role include community outreach through education and guest speaking, helping our clinic staff with any assistance they may need, credentialing and onboarding new volunteers, training volunteers, and providing public health education, overseeing an advisory board, and completing other administrative tasks.
What are your professional goals?
In the future my biggest goal is to work as a global health professional as either a field epidemiologist or in social and behavioral research. I would like to be able to find ways to eliminate health disparities and improve health conditions globally while focusing on communicable diseases.
What do you like to do for fun?
In my spare time, I like to garden and take care of my plants or dance and workout for fun. I also love to explore new cuisine and cultures, so I am always looking for new places to eat at!
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Do things for yourself and do them because you are passionate about it. When you participate in activities you genuinely care about, you will cherish it and your goals will become clearer through these actions. If you truly care about what you do in life, it will show and it will guide you forward.