Maine CDC Director visits Muskie School

On November 28, 2023, Dr. Puthiery Va, the new director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, met with our students in the Public Health program at the Muskie School. Dr. Va shared her journey in public health, offering insights gained from her personal story and her professional career. Dr. Va is a clinician and epidemiologist, working to help communities face disease outbreaks. Her childhood experience living in a refugee camp in Thailand, informed her decision to pursue public health and humanitarian efforts. She highlighted the impact that committed individuals can have on improving health and well-being across communities, and emphasizing how a career in public health is not just a profession but a calling to serve. After graduating from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Va served as the director of the Public Health under the Indian Health Service in the Division of Public Health located in Chinle, Arizona. In this role she helped the Navajo community address the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Va shared her diverse professional experiences, including her background in epidemiology and disease prevention, with our students. She discussed the multidisciplinary nature of public health work, highlighting resilience, cultural awareness, community service, interprofessional teamwork, and leadership to address complex community health issues.