In 2016, Seghen Haile graduated from UMBC’s Health IT graduate program, where she gained technical skills and experiences that assisted her career growth. She sat down with us to discuss her graduate school experience, her time as a global health fellow for US Aid with the Public Health Institute, and her career advancement.

Building on a Biology Background

Seghen began her academic journey as an undergraduate Biology major. After gaining interest in the healthcare field, she became a double major with Health Administration and Public Policy and Biology in her junior year. With her bachelor’s degree under her belt, Seghen took a job at a hospital and a retirement community. Through entering medication orders at the hospital, she came in contact with a vigorous electronic health records system and wanted to learn more. Seghen was motivated to move beyond this job into something she enjoyed more, so she decided to explore the Health Information Technology Graduate Program at UMBC.

The Next Step with the Health IT Graduate Program

To learn more about the program, Seghen attended an open house. After speaking with faculty and perspective students, she found that the program was the perfect fit. Seghen found that the types of courses required, the small class sizes, and a dynamic approach contributed to her success. She found the policy, data analysis, and public health informatics courses useful as she entered the industry and took a job in health informatics. Though Seghen came from a biology background, the technical skills that she needed were included in the program.

“Health information technology in general is a great field to get into at this time, because you can collect data and analyze the data and use the data to make informed decisions in healthcare.”  – Seghen Haile, Alumna, UMBC Health IT Graduate Program

Seghen discusses her Health IT graduate program experience.

Diversity in the Classroom

For Seghen, the diversity of her peers and professors at UMBC was a distinct benefit. Upon her first experience at UMBC, the varied career backgrounds of the other students she met immediately attracted her. There was a clear opportunity to learn about particular areas of the Health IT field, including experiences of her professor who was a practicing doctor working with medical devices. Classroom discussions allowed a student who worked with electronic records, and a classmate who was a nurse at the time to contribute their knowledge.

“There’s people from all different backgrounds and that is something that you don’t see it as a big deal at the time, but when you go out into the real world and you start working, that has a lot of influence in the type of person you become in the future.” – Seghen Haile, Alumna, UMBC Health IT Graduate Program

Bringing Skills to Life in the Field

US Aid’s Global Health Fellows Program (GHFP) II for with the Public Health Institute brought Seghen’s skills to practice, integrating public policy and digital development. She worked for the HIV and AIDs office, helping develop a mobile application to collect data from 44 countries. They collected this data in order to boost the reach of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDs Relief (PEPFAR). Seghen contributed to creating local staff trainings for the application, as well as technical assistance. She not only used her skills to make an impact, but had the opportunity to work in the field in Kenya and South Africa.

Students in lap coats look at computer

Looking to the Future

Upon finishing her fellows program, Seghen has already obtained a position in her field. Because of her Health IT graduate credentials, she was prepared to move up to a position that fit her career goals. Specifically using knowledge of data analysis, coding, and policy that she learned in the program, working in the field truly allowed Seghen to use and develop her skills. Achieving her goal of finding a more engaging career, Seghen has successfully completed her fellowship and accepted a position in public health informatics.

“One thing that I learned from the program and about myself is to being open and to learning these new things. And that’s something that I really enjoyed about my instructors.” – Seghen Haile, Alumna, UMBC Health IT Graduate Program

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