Austin Porter, MPH
What attracted you to the field of public health?
The idea of being able to help change entire communities.
What is your current job title and place of employment?
Injury Epidemiologist, Arkansas Department of Health.
How would you describe a typical work day?
The thing that I love about public health is that it is very difficult to describe what happens on a “typical” day because public health can be excitingly unpredictable. One day I will be sitting in my office writing on some SAS programs and the very next day, I am in meetings with public health leaders from across the state discussing trauma statistics and injury prevention efforts.
What is your advice for students considering a similar career path?
Take really good notes in class!!! I keep my Biostatistics II and Epidemiology II/III binders in my office as a quick reference guide for SAS codes and research designs. I would also advise students to let your professors know what you are interested in because your professors can invite you to work on a project or connect you with another professor that is working on a project that is aligned with your interests.
What experiences or learning gained at UAMS or elsewhere have you found most beneficial professionally or helped you qualify for what you do?
Being a student at UAMS taught me the importance of community involvement when planning and executing public health programs. In my line of work, I have to prepare and discuss data reports to various stakeholders across the state. Because I seek input from the stakeholders as to what types of reports they would like to see, I am able to provide them with the proper information to make more informed decisions.
What do you find most rewarding about your work in public health?
Knowing that I am truly making a difference to make lives safer for ALL Arkansans!