Master of Public Health (MPH) Students Train with the Hawaii State Department of Health

Diana Connor, Desiree Tupas and Adam Swanson

In December, MPH students Desiree Tupas and Adam Swanson completed a year-long student disease investigator position and a semester-long internship, respectively, with the State of Hawaii Department of Health-Disease Investigation Branch (HDOH-DIB). 

Tupas’ position was an ELC-grant funded position earned by HDOH-DIB, and it required her to investigate enteric illnesses, specifically salmonella, which occurs at rates higher in Hawai‘i than the national average. Through this position, Tupas completed the requirements for her graduate degree, while gaining pertinent epidemiology skills, and quickly applying those acquired skills in investigating all salmonella cases, clusters, and outbreaks on Oahu.   

Swanson started working with the Branch with an aim to investigate Hawai‘i’s rates of campylobacter, both retrospectively as well as obtaining current descriptive epidemiologic factors associated with current cases. He reached out to all persons with confirmed or probable case status, conducting an epidemiologic interview. 

Tupas graduated in Fall 2018 and is currently interviewing for epidemiology-based positions in California. Swanson is scheduled to graduate in Spring 2019. Based on the success of the Student Disease Investigator program in 2018, it was funded for 2019, as well. HDOH hired another HPU MPH student, Andrew Tang, for the 2019 Student Disease Investigator II position. 

Pictured are Diana Connor, Foodborne Disease Surveillance and Response Coordinator at the Hawaii State Department of Health; Desiree Tupas and Adam Swanson.

Photo and information provided by Diana Connor.